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Floods submerge parts of Balkans, 2 have died

Alison Mutler

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 11:10 a.m. MDT

A part of a giant earth excavator peers out of a flooded open coal mine pit in Kostolac, some 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. Severe floods caused by excessive rainfall hit the Balkans in the past two days, inundating the Kostolac power plant and causing damage across central Serbia.

Marko Drobnjakovic, Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania — A second person has drowned after rivers burst their banks in Romania, authorities said Thursday, and the flooding also caused damage across the Balkans, inundating a power plant in Serbia and causing landslides in Montenegro.

Forecasters issued a severe weather warning for parts of southern Romania, which has been worst hit by the floods this week.

About 300 people were stranded by floods in a village near the Gilort River, which burst its banks. Authorities said a man was found dead several kilometers from his home, the second person to drown in Romania from the flooding. Around 1,200 people have been evacuated, and some 2,200 homes were damaged by floods with 99 of them completely destroyed.

Forecasters said flooding was also expected in northwest Romania as waters levels in rivers grew, and one major road in west Romania was also flooded.

Central Serbia was hit by floods. A coal mine pit that feeds one of the country's two main power plants was partly flooded and the Kostolac power plant said rushing waters blocked roads leading through the pit and flooded the machinery, but there were no major problems with electricity supplies. Streets and houses in the nearby towns of Kostolac and Pozarevac were also flooded.

Elsewhere in Serbia, storms and torrential rain flooded streets and dozens of houses and tore down trees and power cables, leaving residents in towns and villages without electricity.

Streets were flooded in most towns along the Adriatic coast in Croatia and there were landslides in the hilly parts of Montenegro.

Romanian Environment and Climate Change Minister Attila Korodi said he would investigate whether excessive cutting of forests had caused the flooding in southern Romania.

Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report.

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