19 May 2014, 12:21

Russia sends Ka-32 helicopters to help relief efforts in flood-hit Serbia

Russia sends Ka-32 helicopters to help relief efforts in flood-hit Serbia

Two Russian Ka-32 multipurpose helicopters are to arrive in Serbia on Monday to assist in flood relief efforts, the RIA Novosti news agency reports, quoting a source in the Emergency Situations Ministry. The helicopters took off from Ramenskoye airfield near Moscow and after refueling in Brest headed for Bratislava. Their final destination is Nis, Serbia. The flight will total more than 2,300 km, the source said.

Upon arrival, the Ka-32 helicopters will be searching for and rescuing survivors in flood-stricken areas and delivering relief supplies to hard-to-access places.

Vast parts of Serbia were flooded last week after heavy rains caused rivers to swell. It has stopped raining by now, but the overflowing rivers still pose a danger. There is a high risk of landslides.

A state of emergency was declared in pats of neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina. Doboi, Samac, Maglai, Bijeljina, Banja Luka and many other cities and towns are completely or partially inundated. Thousands of residents were evacuated to safer areas.

Serbia declared a national emergency. On Thursday, the Serb government requested humanitarian and technical aid from Russia and the European Commission.

On Friday, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry sent humanitarian aid to Serbia. As many as 72 Russian rescuers of the Tsentrospas and Leader emergency units, ten floating crafts and other rescue equipment from Russia were deployed near the town of Obrenovac not far from Belgrade.

Emir Kusturica provides his helicopters to evacuate Serbs from flood-hit areas

Renowned Serb moviemaker and musician Emir Kusturica has provided his personal helicopters to help evacuate people from the flood-battered areas of Serbia, the Ruserbia portal reports. Earlier, head of Seriba's Emergency Situations Service Predrag Maric said that more than 23,350 people had been evacuated from the disaster zone. The flooding has claimed five lives, 20 people have been injured and one person is missing, he said.

The two Robinson choppers provided by Kusturica have already saved 25 people.

"The helicopters have been up in the air for 24 hours and will remain at the government's disposal until the rescue operation is over," Ruserbia quotes Kustirica as saying.

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