According to new information, after last night’s torrential rains which hit Skopje, the death toll has now risen to 20. For now, only 13 of the dead have been identified stated the Steering Committee after today’s meeting.

After the meeting, they stated that Skopje and Tetovo were the most damaged area’s after the freak storm and they will declare a crisis situation in those two area’s which will last for the next 15 days. A headquarters has been formed to manage the crisis, and will help with work in the field.

“It has now been confirmed that seventeen lives were lost and we are currently receiving information concerning an additional three people bringing the number to 20 and hopefully the number will not grow. All institutions since the beginning of this disaster are constantly active. Members of the special units of the Interior Ministry, members of the Army of Republic of Macedonia (ARM), the Directorate for Protection and Rescue (DPR), the Municipalities, the City of Skopje, the fire brigade, the Ministry of Health through emergency assistance services are trying to help the citizens affected by the storms. Over 1,000 people were helped to safety. They were in very serious situations, and many of them were in life-threatening situation”, said Health Minister Nikola Todorov after meeting with the Steering Committee on Crisis Management.

He added that the government has begun with systematic activities in the field, and as of 6:00 am this morning helicopters from the security forces are also participating in helping citizens caught up in this crisis .

“During the search and rescue, several bodies were found. We are focused on searching the entire field and extracting those in the most dangerous areas, providing accommodation, food, water, and pumping the flooded water from flooded houses”, said Todorov.

Most affected by yesterday’s storm are the residents of Stajkovci, Singelic, Smilkovci and Aracinovo, all in the North East of Skopje where they found bodies of the fallen and there have been reports of severe damage or collapsed and flooded houses and vehicles causing.

The City Council of Skopje at 14:00 called an emergency meeting after last night after severe storms which struck Skopje and the surrounding areas, says the City of Skopje.

At the session, the only item on the agenda will be information about the consequences of yesterday’s storm and what measures and actions need to taken to repair the damage.