A Life in Mud and Water After Flood in Skopje Area


Time: 5:08 p.m. CEST

Photography, videography and text by Aleksandra Dukovska

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When natural disasters happen in one area, the nature often leaves desperate scenes behind. In an area that has not evidence major flash flood since the 60s, such as is of Skopje region, the recent heavy rain caused massive problems to local population.

Regardless of the massive help of private companies, donations, church, mosques, and individual efforts to help devastated areas, all people where the floods and mudslides affected lives, talk with disbelief what they saw during the night of the storm and heavy rain. Many are in disbelief the assistance would arrive and complain about the way the help is distributed or the assistance in cleaning the mud and draining the water is handled.

Their stories could be different, but their looks are the same, with sadness and mistrusts. Some of them complain the way the help in food and water arrive to them; some are not going at all and try to cope individually with the problem.

Rijad Ajdari lives in village of Singjelik and he says the floods affected his auto mechanic service. Ajdari talks and shows to the wall of one of the neighboring houses to explain to which level of the wall the water came in into the village. For his story, click play to the audio file.

The heavy rains that started on Saturday in the afternoon claimed 22 lives, caused damages to the flooded regions, destroyed homes, and left behind trapped cars in the mudslides. Four days after the heavy rains people tried individually to cope with the damages to their properties, yards, agriculture mechanization and local side streets, now covered with mud and water.

The area of city Skopje includes several municipalities, which have villages and field areas only 8 km, or 4.9 miles of the center of the city. People here reside in individual houses and have some agricultural land close to the settlements. At local fresh market in Skopje, the farmers commented the recent storm with stories about flooded areas and homes. Some discussed the damages on the fields. In the area hit by the floods on the way from village of Creshovo toward village of Stajkovci some of the fields with vegetables offered sad view of the destroyed cornfield, watermelons and peppers.

On August 10, heavy police and army presence guided some of the movement on the local tiny street that connects the villages with the urban part of the city. The sun that came after the rainy nights brought more problem for the residents because they needed to use shovels to remove mud from their properties. The army and police guarded massive help in food and water packages. The Red Cross announced that distributed about 11,081 packages of food. But, some of the residents complained about distribution of food assistance. Only the water bottles with drinking water were at every house, despite the information that tap water from the public water system is good for use.

Several days after the heavy rain, people talked with eagerness about how they survived, what the water, wind and flood sound was, but rare wanted to talk about the way the communities treat the environment. The way from village of Creshevo toward Stajkovci is not long to pass by foot. On the left side of the road, the garbage, not only that came with the flood, but also that stays there in the water channels, is visible. Officials from the government ministries that work on those issues claimed that the channels were cleaned regularly.

The Parliament will have an emergency session on August 14 for the flooded areas, while the government decided to grant about 1,5 million euros to the affected places. According to the official data, about 5000 families faces some consequences of the floods. The situation inspired many individuals to volunteer in the areas and help to local population with cleaning of the mud.

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