: Macedonia declares state of emergency after 21 die in flash floods - Reuters

11:07 Aug. 8, 2016

Macedonia declares state of emergency after 21 die in flash floods - Reuters

Destroyed vehicles and flooded houses pictured after an overnight storm, in the village of Singelic, just east of Skopje, Macedonia. (AP photo)

Monday, August 8th, is declared day of national mourning

Macedonia declared a state of emergency in its capital Skopje and neighboring districts on Sunday, a day after at least 21 people were killed in flash floods caused by a storm.

Torrential rains flooded homes, swept away a section of the ring road around Skopje and wrecked cars late on Saturday evening. Northern suburbs of the capital were particularly hard hit, though the city center also suffered flash floods.

Watch also Ukraine in total natural disaster

Children were among those killed, a police spokesman said, adding that searches were continuing for six people who have been reported missing. Macedonia, a small former Yugoslav republic of about two million people, has declared Monday a day of national mourning.

"This is a catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude," Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Todorov told reporters.

Special police forces and trucks loaded with drinking water were sent to the worst affected areas, where there also have been some electricity outages and where scattered debris of furniture swept away from houses could be seen on the streets, a Reuters reporter said.

Watch also Hundreds of houses affected by floods following heavy rain in Serbia

The rain had stopped by Sunday morning and water levels were receding, though there was some more rain on Sunday evening in Skopje. There were no reports of further flash flooding.

European Union Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Twitter that the E.U. stood ready to help Macedonia, which is a candidate to join the bloc.

Further north in the Balkans, in Croatia, heavy winds caused disruptions on some roads, including the closure of the highway linking the capital Zagreb to southern coast for lorries and buses, local media said.

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