Communities in Serbia and Bosnia battled to protect towns and power plants on Monday from rising flood waters and landslides that have devastated swathes of both countries and killed dozens of people.

Receding waters in some of the areas worst-hit by the heaviest rainfall in the Balkans since records began 120 years ago revealed scenes of devastation - twisted homes, fallen trees and rotting animals.

Authorities in Bosnia estimated some 500,000 people had been evacuated or left their homes, the kind of human displacement not seen since the country's 1992-95 war. The discovery of a body in the north of the country on Monday raised the regional death toll to at least 38.

At least 25,000 people have been evacuated in Serbia.
File:Bělehrad, Kalemegdan, Rozvodněná Sáva se vlévá do Dunaje.jpg

The River Sava, swollen by a new flood wave from Croatia a day after the rain finally stopped, continued to threaten parts of northern Bosnia and western Serbia, including Serbia's biggest power plant 30 km (18 miles) southwest of the capital, Belgrade.

Soldiers and energy workers worked through the night to build barriers of sandbags to keep the water back from the site and from a second complex, the Kostolac coal-fired plant, east of Belgrade.

People evacuate on a boat in the flooded town of Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, Serbia May 17, 2014.REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Hundreds of volunteers in the capital filled sandbags and stacked them along the banks of Sava. Police issued an appeal for more bags.

Djina Trisovic, a union spokeswoman at Serbia's EPS power utility, said some workers at the Nikola Tesla plant had worked three days with barely a break because their relief teams could not reach the plant.
File:Dičina, Šarani, Gornji Milanovac 3.jpg

"The plant should be safe now," she told Reuters. "We've done all we could. Now it's in the hands of God."


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