SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Flooding from a new lake created by a landslide of mine waste shut down one of Bosnia’s main highways Saturday and raised fears of further flooding.
Earlier this week, a massive landslide of mine waste from an open pit coal mine had blocked a river near the central Bosnia town of Kakanj, creating the lake.
The lake overflowed Saturday morning following heavy rain overnight, forcing the closure of a busy highway connecting the capital of Sarajevo with the central town of Zenica. The town of Kakanj is 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Sarajevo.
Fahrudin Solak, a Civil Protection official, said emergency crews have redirected drivers to alternative roads and were struggling to defuse the lake’s flooding threat by channeling its water into drainage ducts.
Authorities on Friday evacuated more than 150 people from two villages in the direct path of the landslide, Ribnica and Mramor.
Officials from the Kakanj coal mine said the evacuees will receive compensation for their lost homes and will likely have to abandon their villages permanently.
Ismet Delibasic of Ribnica said the only thing left for villagers to do was to wait for the complete “disaster” of watching their houses disappear amid the landslide.
“Regardless of the amount, compensation alone cannot erase the trauma,” Delibasic said.
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