Daily Israel Report

No Jews Among Reported Balkans Flood Deaths, Says Rabbi

Chief Rabbi of Serbia says Jewish community working to locate all its large elderly population, 'this is something completely unknown.'
By Chaim Lev, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/19/2014, 10:11 AM

Serbian soldier evacuates child from flooding
Serbian soldier evacuates child from flooding
Reuters

The Balkans are suffering from a flood of magnitudes not seen in decades, which has left over 35 dead and sent tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes, as heavy rains turned the Sava River into a lethal torrent.

Rabbi Yitzhak Asiel, the Chief Rabbi of Serbia, says that at this point no Jews are known to have been injured in the flooding. Over 24,300 people have been evacuated in Serbia according to CNN.

Speaking to the hareidi newspaper Hamevaser, Rabbi Asiel reported "the floods are in a wide part of several of the Balkan countries. Here too in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, around 15,000 people were evacuated from the edges of the city by the river."

"As for Jews, up till now there's no specific information on Jews harmed G-d forbid. But the Jewish community is tensely following the developments, because in the evacuated areas there are naturally also Jews," said Rabbi Asiel.

The rabbi added that "a large portion of Serbian Jews are elderly and can not cope without help from the Jewish community, and the Jewish community is trying to locate them in evacuation centers at schools and sports halls, with that hope that none of them is harmed G-d forbid."

Three months of rain in mere days

Serbia has never experienced a flood like this, according to the rabbi, who said "this is something completely unknown. According to the meteorological services, the floods are the heaviest in 120 years of recording."

The floods were caused by "an intensive rain system - a quantity of rain that falls in three months fell in a matter of days, something that only occurs once in a century," noted the rabbi.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has offered emergency Israeli help to the government of Serbia. Rescue teams from Russia and several EU countries are en route to the region to assist. At least a million and a half tons of supplies were on the way to the region, EU officials said.