26 March 2006

About 100 evacuated and power plant shut down after heavy floods in Kosovo

AP, Feb 24, 2006 10:25 AM


PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro-Authorities evacuated dozens of people and shut down a power plant after a swollen river in the province burst its banks flooding the area, officials said Friday.


About 100 people were removed from their stranded homes in the northern town of Kosovska Mitrovica and the nearby Vucitrn, after Sitnica river flooded several villages and neighborhoods in that area, said U.N. police spokesman Larry Miller.


The floods, caused by days of rain, have also affected other areas in the province.


Officials shut down Kosovo's main coal-fired power plant Thursday after waters flooded the coal storage, leaving most of the province in darkness.


Kosovo, which has been run by a U.N. mission since the end of the war in 1999, has two thermal power plants, both old and dilapidated, just outside the capital Pristina. They are prone to breakdowns that cause regular power cuts, despite large investments.


Experts were still assessing the damages caused by the floods, officials said.


The heavy rain and bad weather have also slowed down the works on removing debris following a mudslide from a key road linking Kosovo to neighboring Macedonia, which has been closed for more than a month.