February 6, 2015 / 1:36 PM / 5 years ago

Woman killed in Albanian floods as rain and snow batter Balkans

SKOPJE (Reuters) - Floods killed a woman in Albania on Friday and Macedonia sent more troops to a waterlogged central area after fresh rains, while snow closed roads and cut power in Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia.

The 38-year-old mother of two was swept away when the Verdova River on Albania’s eastern border with Macedonia brought down a wall near her house.

A week of heavy rain has left land and hundreds of homes under water around the central Macedonian town of Bitola, most critically near the village of Novaci, where the swollen Crna Reka river is threatening to engulf houses.

“The situation around Bitola is still unpredictable as the rains are not stopping,” Macedonia’s Center for Crisis Management said in a statement.

Soldiers and heavy machinery have been sent to the area and two aviation teams are on standby to evacuate the population. Macedonian farmers say the floods have caused tens of millions of euros worth of damage to fertile land and crops.

In southern Albania, where the Vjosa River has flooded 18,000 hectares of land and killed thousands of cattle, waters were rising again on Friday after briefly receding.

A border crossing between northwestern Bosnia and Croatia was closed by snow and Bosnian authorities shut down schools until Feb. 13.

Heavy snow and gale-force winds also closed roads and motorways leading to Croatia’s Adriatic coast. Around 6,000 houses were left without electricity in central Croatia, state power board HEP said.

More than 5,500 households were without power and roads were closed by snow in western Slovenia.

Reporting by Kole Casule in Skopje, Benet Koleka in Tirana, Zoran Radosavljevic in Zagreb, Daria Sito Sucic in Sarajevo, Marja Novak in Ljubljana; Editing by Catherine Evans

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