At least 21 persons have been killed after deadly storms packing strong winds and torrential rains hit Macedonia’s capital of Skopje on Sunday evening, the health minister said.
A statement issued by the interior ministry revealed that: “Twenty-one people died in the areas of Singelic, Stajkovci, Smilkovci and on the ring road.”
No less than 56 people were injured in the storms, while a hospital source told AFP that an eight-year-old girl was among the dead.
“This is a disaster, we have never experienced such a thing,” said Skopje’s Mayor Koce Trajanovski, adding later that a “water bomb” had struck the city.
AFP gathered that the freak weather included winds blowing at more than 70 kilometres (43 miles) an hour and resulted in flash floods and landslides, with cars swept away by the violent torrents.
Quite a number of the victims died in their cars as they were rapidly engulfed in mud and water while others were unable to flee their homes in time to reach safety.
A truck driver who managed to escape from his vehicle said he was unable to help a couple with a baby in a car that was washed away before his eyes.
“The water was so fast … I do not know what happened to them,” he told Kanal 5 television channel.