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'Terrifying' level of destruction by flood

MORE than a quarter of Bosnia's four million people have been affected by the worst flooding to hit the Balkans in more than a century, the government said yesterday, warning of "terrifying" destruction comparable to the region's 1992-95 war.

The floods extended across Serbia and Bosnia, where receding waters in some of the worst-hit areas are now revealing the extent of the devastation.

Homes have been toppled or submerged in mud, trees toppled and villages strewn with the bodies of dead livestock.

"The consequences of the floods are terrifying," Bosnian foreign minister Zlatko Lagumdzija told a news conference. "The physical destruction is not less than the destruction caused by the war."

He said more than 100,000 houses and other buildings were no longer usable. "During the war, many people lost everything," he said. "Today, again they have nothing."

The discovery of a body in northern Bosnia yesterday raised the regional death toll to at least 38, but the figure was likely to rise further.

Even as the crisis eased in some areas, a new wave of flooding from the swollen River Sava threatened other areas, notably Serbia's largest power plant, the Nikola Tesla complex, 18 miles southwest of the capital, Belgrade.

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