The latest findings of the International Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations showed that due to global warming temperatures on Earth over the next 35 years will increase by three degrees Celsius. This could lead to unprecedented consequences for the climate and thus cause terrible flooding, drought, unseen poverty and other plagues of biblical proportions.

Serbia will not be spared from these effects and may lose about 20 percent of current crop yields over the next 36 years. Global warming will bring increased risk to human life and health, jeopardize the survival of many plant and animal species, and human and natural systems. Such changes will be felt in Serbia.

…Serbia will, like the rest of South East Europe,  be exposed to very negative consequences of global warming due to high emissions of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. Serbia in the next years will be faced with droughts and floods, and the scariest part is that we will cross directly from one extreme weather condition to another… An especially big problem is that in our country there is no well developed system of prevention.

—Slavko Maksimovic, President of the Scientific Association Milutin Milanković

Heat waves and cold waves are becoming more frequent and longer. Until now, there were two to four a year, and now there are four to six with increased duration by six days (8-10 days on average). The flooding that occurred in Serbia in recent days has confirmed that these are not just predictions or scenarios that will occur in the distant future, but are happening today.

Torrential rains in Central and Southern Serbia resulted in dramatically increased levels of water in rivers, with some overflowing their banks, flooding farmland and resulting in the declaration of emergency situations in 11 cities, and the number of people evacuated due to floods in Serbia has increased to 440. The problem, as announced by the Hydro-meteorological Institute, is that in the next few days the temperature will rise and this will cause rapid snow melt. All of this will affect the river Ibra and West Morava and other waterways in the area.

West Morava

West Morava. Pic: Mihailo Jovanovic (Wikimedia Commons)

Natural disasters that have affected a large part of western Serbia have resulted in major damage for farmers. The unusually cold weather in April caused enormous damage to crops such as raspberries, which are major agricultural export products in that part of Serbia. Floods, namely, besides causing damage to property, carry  infections, most often intestinal infectious diseases. They are transmitted by drinking contaminated water, but also by touching dirty hands or through clothing, which people have worn in contaminated areas. Although the results of current examinations so far have been safe, this does not mean that some bacteria, virus or parasite will not show up later, especially more flooding is expected after the snow melt in Kopaonik. 

The damaging floods in nearly all of Serbia over the past days should be an alert to the fact that global warming and climate change will not spare anyone and will not bypass Serbia. It is a reality that must be faced, and we must work every day to reduce the negative effects of this phenomenon.