Quiz: UK Firefighters Join Floods Rescue In Balkans

One member of the team told Sky News the flooding is far worse than anything he saw this winter in Somerset or the Thames Valley.
By Tom Parmenter, Sky News Correspondent in Bijeljina, Bosnia

British firefighters are providing a “lifeline” for flood survivors in the Balkans’ worst natural disaster in living memory.

A team of 33 men and women from all over the UK have been working around the clock near the devastated communities close to the Bosnian city of Bijeljina.

The crews have been helping in small rural villages and have pulled 142 people to safety since they arrived.

Men sit on a car porch during heavy floods in Bosanski Samac
Three men waiting to be rescued at a block of flats

Team leader Nick Searle from Merseyside Fire and Rescue told Sky News: “It is a huge job but we have an enormous amount of experience between us.

“This is the first time we have been deployed to an overseas flooding disaster and we have brought four inflatable boats and have set up a command and control base.”

Inside one of the villages, one resident said the British crews were the first outsiders they had seen.

A man waits to be rescued from his house during heavy floods in Vojskova
It will be a long time before the flood water recedes

Cheshire firefighter Paul Bickerton told Sky News: “The area that is underwater is staggering – as is the isolation.

“When they are thanking you for saving their lives it is brilliant to see.”

Lincolnshire firefighter Chris Lowe has worked in the recent flooding in Somerset and the Thames Valley, but said: “This is on a different level. Some locals have decided to stay in their homes.

A man climbs on the roof of a house to feed pigs they rescued during heavy floods in the village of Vojskova
Men feed pigs stranded on the roof of a house

“In one village a family have decided to stay in their flooded bakery with three young children. They are stranded but it is their livelihood so they are adamant they want to stay.”

The British team dropped off water, milk and some sweets for the young children.

“We are their only link to the outside world,” Mr Lowe added.

The fire crews expect to be working in the villages for another week but the recovery in the disaster zones will take far longer.

A man reacts near a house tilted by floods in the village of Krupanj
  • The Balkans has been enduring its worst flooding in more than 100 years. Here a despairing man is seen near a house torn from its foundations in the village of Krupanj, west of Belgrade.A man climbs on the roof of a house to feed pigs they rescued during heavy floods in the village of Vojskova

  • A man climbs on the roof of a house to feed pigs rescued during heavy floods in Vojskova, Bosnia and Herzegovina.A man waits to be rescued from his house during heavy floods in Vojskova

  • Home alone: A flood victim on the roof of his house in Vojskova.

  • floods

    A British firefighter negotiates the flooding near the Bosnian city of Bijeljina.floods

  • UK rescuers deliver much-needed supplies of fresh water.floods

  • A total of 33 Brits – men and women – have been helping devastated communities around Bijeljina.floods

  • Families have been warned it will be a long time before the water subsides and life returns to anything like normal.A pig is stranded on a roof during heavy floods in Vojskova

  • A pig stranded in Vojskova.Men sit on a car porch during heavy floods in Bosanski Samac

  • Men waiting to be rescued at a block of flats in Bosanski Samac, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

  • A man rescues cats from the roof during heavy floods in Vojskova
  • Two lucky cats plucked from a roof in Vojskova. Click through for more pictures.

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