BELGRADE, May 17 (Xinhua) -- In a short pause between the rain showers, Serbia engaged maximum capacities to secure embankments on the Sava River and rescue people in flood-swept town of Obrenovac.
|People build embankments by filling sacks with sand and building them into a wall to guard against flood in Umka of Belgrade, Serbia, on May 17, 2014. In short pause of rainfall, Serbia engaged maximum capacities to secure embankments on the Sava River and rescue people in flood-swept town of Obrenovac. (Xinhua/Nemanja Cabric)
The main task for the tens of thousands fighting the flood, including police force, military, and volunteers, is to evacuate people from the endangered zones and secure the banks of the Sava River that exceeded its historic maximum in almost all of the measuring places, with new water rushing in from its tributaries.
From Belgrade to Obrenovac, some 30 km upstream of the Sava River to the South East, everything is in alarm, with people struggling to prepare for the biggest ever flood for the country in more than a century.
In Umka, a suburb region 15 km to the southeast of Belgrade where the river makes a U-turn, some 400 people are working around-the-clock to build embankments by filling sacks with sand and building them into a wall to guard against flood.
"We came here from the early morning and this is what we made since then. Later, a lot of people from Belgrade came by busses, and works advanced faster," said Zlatko Djuricic from Umka. "Embankment is 800-meter long, 1.2 meter high and 1 meter wide."
His friend Zeljko Radukic said they were just about going home to rest, when they saw crowds of people from Belgrade.
"We returned to work some more, (for) they gave us the energy", says Radukic.
While they were working, several thousand people were evacuated from Baric, also a suburban settlement of Belgrade, 6 km southeast of Umka that was completely emptied on Saturday because of the flooding of Sava.
The settlement of Baric is expected to first receive the flood wave that rolls down the Sava River from flood-stricken Obrenovac, where several people lost their lives on Friday and houses were destroyed.
A total of 76 rescuers from Russia with 10 boats are helping Serbian teams save people cut off from the land in Obrenovac.
Team from Slovenia pumped out the water from the Nikola Tesla power plant in Obrenovac with two pumps. Teams from Bulgaria and Croatia are also present, while the United States donated 100,000 dollars, police stated.
Help is on the way from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Belorussia, France, Macedonia and Hungary.
The European Commission announced that it will send a team on May 18 to estimate damage caused by floods in western and central Serbia.
Everybody in Umka talked about a flood wave coming from Baric, however, a policeman at Umka said that no news is forwarded to them.
Road from Umka to Baric is blocked by the police.
With the citizens of Baric, the total number of the evacuated people since Wednesday has reached 16,300.
Particular attention has been paid to the chemical factory in Baric, which the police said is safe now and there is no need to panic.
Along the road in Umka are tens of buses, waiting for instruction to receive evacuated people or volunteers. With night approaching, people are still working to support the embankment that protects their homes.
A group of young people from Umka is here with their girlfriends, and they claim to be the last defense of Belgrade. One of them, Lazar Panjeta, said that there will be no retreat until Sava River is tamed.
"We will keep on working until the sand runs out," Panjeta told Xinhua.
However, some 60 km to the east in the City of Sabac embankments are full to the top, while more water are rushing towards Obrenovac, Baric and Umka, and will finally get to the Serbian capital city of Belgrade.