Albania 'hit by worst floods in living memory'

Levels of water in the dam of the River Drin were lowered to decrease the risk of damage

More than 12,000 people have now been moved from their homes in north-western Albania following days of heavy rain.

Interior Minister Lulzim Basha told the BBC that the country was experiencing its worst flooding in living memory.

He said the situation around the town of Shkoder was "critical", with 14,000 hectares (34,595 acres) under water.

Other Balkan countries have also been badly hit, with three people killed after their home collapsed following a landside in the Bosnian city of Tuzla.

Meteorologists say the torrential rains of recent days have now eased.

Aerial view of the flooded streets of Shkoder (5 December 2010) The situation in Shkoder is critical, said the minister

The River Drin, which had risen to its highest level in over a century, has begun to recede, but the Bosnian authorities say houses are still underwater in the east of the country.

The River Sava, however, is now rising. It flows east into Serbia, although the government in Belgrade says it does not foresee significant damage.

One of Europe's poorest and least developed regions is struggling to cope with the onslaught of these floods.

The rains may be coming to an end, but saturated land and thousands of displaced people will cause problems for some time to come.

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