The worst drought in half a century wreaks havoc in the Balkans

A long and severe drought, the worst in the past 50 years, is causing serious damage in the Balkans. Most of the crops were destroyed and this has made vegetables and other product prices sky-rocket, while several localities, like Srebrenica, were left without drinking water.

This summer's drought, with unusually high temperatures, is a blow to the region, that is already greatly weakened by the economic crisis.

Farmers complain that in some parts the damages to their crops amount to 100%, while governments admit that they can not afford to compensate those who need it.

The drought also creates perfect conditions for wild fires, which have destroyed thousands of hectares of forests and plantations, while also emptying the accumulation of water in hydroelectric plants from rivers and wells that farmers need for cattle.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina a state of emergency has been proclaimed.

In Srebrenica there has been no drinking water for two days, the local river has dried up and people are selling livestock at very low prices since they can not keep them, this was reported by the news portal "24.sata.info".

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Farmers Union calls for declaration of a state of natural disaster. The Union assures that the lack of water and food has reduced livestock numbers by 40%, and that damage to the country's main agricultural culture, maize, is between 40% and 80%.

Potatoes and vegetables are also seriously affected.

In Serbia, the Ministry of Agriculture estimates that the crops will be reduced by 50% this year (compared to 2011). It is estimated that damage to agriculture this year will amount to a total of USD 2,000 million.

In Croatia, the vegetable prices have soared 32% respectively, according to the Institute of Statistics of this country.

"We have not had real rain in 18 whole months," said Zoran Cavlovic, director of "Croatian Water", to Nova TV, noting that some places lack drinking water.

The president of the Chamber of Agriculture, Matija Brlozic, told Hina agency that the cost of the damages will exceed 130 million Euro.

"It would be foolish to promise now that the state will compensate these damages: the state has no money," said Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, after touring the worst hit areas.

However, after criticizing the utter lack of irrigation systems, which only cover 1% of the cultivated land in the country, announced ambitious projects in this field with the help of European funds.

In Montenegro, the drought has destroyed between 40% and 60% of the crops in this small country, according to the president of the Agricultural Union of Montenegro, Dragoljub Nenezic, to a news agency "Mina-business."

Source: ABC


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