Storms kill at least 15 people in Macedonia’s capital of Skopje

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Storms kill at least 15 people in Macedonia’s capital of Skopje

Strong winds and torrential rains have killed at least 15 people overnight in Macedonia’s capital of Skopje, police said.

“As of 8:30 this morning (6.30am in Ireland), we have discovered 15 victims (of the storms). Our teams are still searching for other possible victims,” police spokesperson Liza Bendevska told AFP.

Six people were missing, according to the police, while media reported that about one hundred others suffered injuries, most of them minor.

Among the dead was an eight-year-old girl, a hospital source told AFP.

“This is a disaster, we have never experienced such a thing,” said Skopje’s Mayor Koce Trajanovski.

Rain began falling at 3.30pm yesterday and stopped only at 7.30am this morning, with the peak of the storm in the middle of the night.

The freak weather included winds blowing at more than 70 kilometres an hour and resulted in flash floods and landslides, local media reported.

Cars were seen swept away by the torrents, testifying to the force of the storm.

Especially badly hit were villages on the outskirts of the capital including Smilkovci, Singelic, Stajkovci and Aracinovo.

Reports said the water level reached as high as 1.5 metres in some of the affected areas, which were being combed by Macedonia’s police and army for survivors and other victims.