Home > Famines and Crop Destruction > ‘Disaster’: Unusual Drought Triggers Alarm Across Balkans

‘Disaster’: Unusual Drought Triggers Alarm Across Balkans


By AMER COHADZIC and MARKO DROBNJAKOVIC – “BEZDAN, Serbia (AP) — The waters of the mighty Danube are so low that dozens of cargo ships are stuck, stranded in ghostly fog or wedged into sand banks on what is normally one of eastern Europe’s busiest transport routes.

A lack of rain has triggered the worst drought in decades for this time of year, dropping river levels to record lows and sounding an alarm in parts of central and eastern Europe.

Power supplies are running low in Serbia, drinking water shortages have hit Bosnia, and crop production is in jeopardy in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Czech Republic is at its driest since records began in 1775.

Meteorologists say they are not sure why the region has had far less rain than average since August — but they don’t see any more coming quickly. That is bad news for shipping companies that are already reporting big losses.

‘This is a disaster,’ said Branko Savic, the manager of a privately owned Danube shipping company in Serbia that he says is operating at only a third of its capacity. ‘Traffic on the Danube is practically nonexistent. . . We are in dire need of enormous amounts of water, rain, or melting snow in order to better the situation.’

About 80 big cargo ships are stranded at the Serbia-Hungary border on the Danube, Europe’s second largest river, which winds 2,860-kilometer (1,777-mile) from Germany, passing through eight countries before flowing into the Black Sea.

‘In my many years of experience as a boat captain, I don’t remember a drought as harsh as this one,’ said Anton Balasz, whose ship is among those stuck where exposed sand banks are preventing boats from passing.” Read more.

  1. 02/10/2012 at 8:38 AM

    And what is about Danube river cruise ships.

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