By Mick Krever, CNN
The devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina – and throughout the Balkans – are “the worst thing” the country has faced since its deadly civil war two decade ago, President Bakir Izetbegović told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.
The cost of the damage will be measure in billions of euros, he told Amanpour.
“Hundreds of square kilometers [are] under water; in some parts, in some cities, in some villages in Northern Bosnia there is two or three meters of water,” he said. “So the rivers are out and now it looks like lakes.”
The flooding has already killed at least two dozen people in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Massive swaths of Croatia are also submerged.
Along with the damage and death caused by floods, many are also concerned about the deadly minefields left in place from the war.
“In this moment, there is still water, and still we cannot exactly say what happened with minefields,” President Izetbegović said. “But for sure they will be displaced. Also the warning marks are removed.”
Much of the system of warning signs that kept the country in perilous equilibrium with the mines has also been destroyed.
“People…do not think about the mines in this moment. Later, that problem will appear for sure.”
Izetbegović praised the armed forces’ efforts to rescue the stranded, and said more than 3,000 had been airlifted by helicopter. More than 30,000 people have been displaced, he told Amanpour.
Bosnia’s neighbor, Serbia, has also been affected by the floods; the tensions between the countries have remained high since the ethnic cleansing of the 1990s.
“In this moment, everybody is helping each other, especially on this level of common people,” Izetbegović said.
Croats are helping Bosniacs, Bosniacs are helping Serbs, he said.
“This morning I had a phone call from Montenegro, I had phone call from Macedonia, from Slovenia and so on.”
“In this moment, we do not think about things that divide us, but actually everybody is trying to help.”