Flood of May 2014: the largest flood in the region in the known history

The flooding in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, which occurred in the middle of May 2014 after a three-months amount of rain fell onto the region in just three days, had devastating impacts. The heaviest rainfall since records began 120 years ago caused an extreme increase of water levels in the rivers, some exceeding ever recorded maximums.

The floods have firstly occurred along the rivers with smaller catchments. Several settlements in the Kolubara River basin were flooded. The town of Obrenovac suffered the most after it was impounded by water several meters deep in the city centre. The Drina River basin suffered from flooding and landslides causing extreme damage. Right tributaries of the Sava River – the Bosna Vrbas and Una caused flooding and landslides and great loss in the area. Floods had particular devastating impact in the towns and villages along the Bosna River (Zavidović, Maglaj, Doboj, etc.).

Enormous inflow from the right-bank tributaries lead to a fast increase of the Sava water levels as of May 15, in the bordering sections between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and in Serbia. On May 17, the Sava River breached left-bank levee at two locations, flooding several settlements in eastern Croatia. Since the downstream breach occurred just about 5 km from the state border, water progressed over flat areas towards lower terrain in Serbia and flooded several settlements there as well.

Right-bank levee could not withstand high water pressure of the Sava River either. In period May 17-18 levees burst at several locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, causing flooding of large areas in the Odžačka Posavina, Srednja Posavina and in Semberia. On May 19 the levee breached in Serbia just upstream of Obrenovac, endangering the town once again.

On May 20, the region is still fighting the floods. Long-lasting extreme water levels of the Sava River endanger levees and, experts, local authorities and large number of volunteers are putting great effort in preventing further levee collapsing and flooding of even larger area.

The consequences of the floods are yet to be determined, however, it is already certain that the region suffered great damage, with the only one that cannot be recuperated – loss of human lives.

Documents in attachment

Maximum water levels in the Sava River Basin