Flooding affected several Balkan countries from 17 January 2023, in particular Kosovo* and Serbia where hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes.
The Republic Hydrometeorological Service of Serbia (RHMZ) issued warnings of heavy rain in the region on 15 January, with as 150 mm of rain expected in some areas of southern Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Montenegro from 17 January.
Numerous rivers broke their banks, including the Grabovica River in Sjenica, the Lim river in Brodarevo and the Toplica river in Kuršumlija and Prokuplje. The Graševačka and Rasina rivers both overflowed in the municipality of Brus.
Serbia's Ministry of Interior said numerous municipalities declared a state of emergency, including Brus, Priboj, Prijepolje, Novi Pazar, Prokuplje and Kursumlija. Serbian Red Cross reported a total of 3,000 people were affected and around 540 displaced.
In Novi Pazar, two people were reported missing and later found dead after being swept away by floods while attempting to protect their homes. Minister of the Interior Bratislav Gasic said six specialist rescue teams were deployed to the area to assist with the search.
In Kosovo, some of the worst of the flooding was reported in town of Mitrovica, where 120 families evacuated their homes. In the town of Skenderaj, local authorities declared a state of emergency after floods swept through streets in the town leaving vehicles. Local media also reported flooding in Vushtrria, Peja, Istog, Klina and Decan. Drinking water supply was interrupted in several areas including the capital Pristina.
Copernicus Emergency Management Service (EMS) Rapid Mapping (link: https://emergency.copernicus.eu/mapping/list-of-components/EMSR646 ) was activated to estimate the flood impact on agriculture and urban areas for emergency support. Maps were produced for flooded areas of Klina, Veri, Istogu and Skenderaj.
In Albania, wide areas of agricultural land were underwater in Shkodër County. The Ministry of Defence said the Buna river flooded around 275 hectares of farmland in Muriqan and Oblikë. Landslides in the country have caused traffic problems. Local media also reported flooding blocked roads in parts of the Lezhë district.
Heavy rain caused rivers to overflow in northern Montenegro, where landslides were also reported. Flooding and landslides in areas including Pljevlja, Mojkovac and Rozaje cut road and rail connections. One person died in rough seas near the coastal town of Herceg Novi.
Rivers were swollen in parts of neighbouring Bosnia, in particular the Lim near Rudo. No serious flooding was reported, however.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.