A severe thunderstorm brought torrential rainfall during the night between 6 and 7 August, 2016, which left some areas around the city under 1.5 meters of flood water. According to WMO figures, as much as 92.9 mm of rain fell was recorded in Skopje-Zajcev Rid in just a few hours, during the said night, actually representing the rainfall which the region would normally see in the three months of summer, between August and October. However, there are other reports suggesting the amount of rainfall was much higher.
The worst hit were the northern suburbs of Skopje and some of the near villages. Floods caused major damages to buildings and the road network, including parts of the city's ring road. Photos from the Ministry of Interior showed cars that had been swept away by flood water for hundreds of meters, at least 70 vehicles being trapped by flooding in the Stajkovci area. Police also reported major damage to cars and property, including some homes which have been destroyed. "This is a catastrophe of unprecedented proportion," Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Todorov said.
While the neighbouring Bularia has sent four emergency rescue teams to help the citizens of Macedonia's capital Skopje tackle the consequences of devastating floods, the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated and the first EU experts are deployed onsite in Macedonia.
"The EU stands ready to support the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at this time of need. Right now we are in contact with the national authorities in Skopje and the other participating states in the Mechanism to coordinate a swift response to the request. We are already sending a humanitarian expert today and a civil protection team will follow as of tomorrow. I encourage offers of assistance to come in as quickly as possible. We're also prepared to provide humanitarian assistance in case needed," Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said.
In fact, although it is early for any atempt of quantifying the losses, it is already clear that both financial and humanitarian assistance are needed. Unfortunately insurance has a very little say in this respect, as property insurance has a very low penetration in the local market, so that properties are almost entirely uninsured. As a result, recovery financing in the floods aftermath remains a matter for the public spending and the financial aid that Macedonia will hopefully be able to get.
Financial donations should be addressed to:
The Macedonian Red Cross
Bank name: Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje
Bank address: ul. Orce Nikolov No. 3 1000 Skopje, Macedonia
Bank account: 30000000000013325730522-11
SWIFT Code: KOBSMK2X
IBAN Code: MK07300701000001228
Video footage realized by the Macedonian Police Department
Photos provided by the Macedonian Ministry of Interior