9 000 evacuated in Albania floods
Shkodra - More than 9 000 people were evacuated from their homes in Albania due to floods that have hit the country in the past week, a civil services official said on Saturday.
"Some 14 000 hectares of farming land are still under water that has blocked and completely isolated several villages in the region of Shkodra endangering people's lives," Leonard Olli said.
At least 1 500 police and soldiers have been deployed in the northern region to help with the evacuation of residents and to secure food for them.
At least 4 597 houses have been damaged and 2 561 were completely flooded, a police report said.
Despite repeated calls from the authorities, most villagers in the Shkodra region have refused to leave their homes and abandon their cattle.
Main entrances into Shkodra are blocked while several parts of the town where the water level is higher than two metres have no electricity.
"The situation is very difficult," Albanian President Bamir Topi said in Shkodra.
Topi said he had called for help from Nato countries and talked by phone with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul who promised logistic help for flooded areas.
The authorities fear that new heavy rains could raise the water level and cause the breaking of water-gates at hydro-electric power plants, causing a disaster and endangering lives in the Shkodra region.
Heavy rains have also caused problems and major material damages in other parts of Albania.