Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vucic urges citizens not to drive along snowed-in roads

2/1/2014 4:30:00 PM

SUBOTICA - Serbia's First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic arrived at a site where over 1,000 citizens were stranded on the highway from Novi Sad to Subotica, northern Serbia, and said that more military and police helicopters have been sent to rescue the passengers who were cut off by deep snow drifts for over 16 hours.

  The Serbian first deputy prime minister called on citizens, via on-site news crews, not to drive along snowed-in roads, and underlined that in that way they will also help relevant state bodies take care about all those affected by severe weather and the gale-force wind that is creating deep snow drifts. There are currently eight long and four short lines of stranded vehicles in the northern part of the country, Vucic said. The Serbian military already started evacuating children from the 200-car column near Feketic, on the Novi Sad-Subotica highway, a part of Corridor 10 or E75. 

 Three military and two police helicopters are about to join the evacuation efforts. Defense Minister Nebojsa Rodic and Minister of Transport Aleksandar Antic are at the site with Vucic. Antic also called on citizens in Vojvodina not to travel and make evacuation efforts even more difficult. "I urge citizens of Vojvodina not to travel because of these weather conditions, and especially not along the highway and (regional) Zrenjanin road," Antic told Tanjug. 

 At certain locations, snow drifts are four-five meters high, and the winter service of the Roads of Serbia cannot cope with such weather conditions, he said. Helicopters are evacuating the passengers toward Backa Topola, primarily children, pregnant women and the elderly, and the Serbian military and police are sending more helicopters for the rescue operation, he said.

 The Serbian government decided on Saturday to fully engage the Serbian military, police force and Gendarmerie, Ministry of Transport and healthcare services in rescuing the citizens stranded on snowed-in roads in Vojvodina, northern Serbia. During the last night and today, the army, police, road maintenance workers evacuated a thousand stranded passengers, while several hundred citizens are still cut off by deep snow drifts and expected to receive necessary assistance in the coming hours. 

 The Serbian government urged citizens not to travel until there is no weather risk. Traffic has been suspended on the snowed-in roads, and will be restored once the situation normalizes. The ban on shipping along the Danube River has also been introduced. The government also ordered that all available machinery be used for overcoming the consequences of the gale-force wind and heavy snow so as to rescue the stranded passengers and clear the roads and railroads. Photo Tanjug, S. Ilic

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