The capital city of Skopje has been devastated by torrential rain and floods that have made roads impassable and left homes without electricity. Local media reports said wind speeds reached over 70kmph (43mph). At least 15 people are dead, 22 injured and six missing, police spokeswoman Natalija Spirova Kordikj told AP on Sunday, 7 August.
"It is very sad, there are several victims," a police official told Reuters, but could not confirm the exact number of casualties. Army units, firefighters and police units have been deployed to the most severely affected areas in the Macedonian capital, particularly the northern suburbs and the villages of Stajkovci, Aračinovo and Smiljkovic. Many of the dead are believed to be from these regions.
"As of 8.30 this morning (local time), we have discovered 15 victims (of the storms). Our teams are still searching for other possible victims," police spokeswoman Liza Bendevska told the AFP news agency.
Koce Trajanovski, Skopje's mayor has called the emergency situation as "the worst Skopje has ever seen" adding that "This is a disaster, we have never experienced such a thing."
According to locals in Chento and Stajkovci, they believe that children are among the victims, as well as entire families who had drowned, trapped in their own homes.
In desperation, the residents had climbed onto the roofs of their houses when the water level came up. Independent.mk reports that eyewitnesses say that the water rose to at least 2m high.
The rain had ceased temporarily on the morning of Sunday, 7 August, but further downpours were forecast for later in the evening.
In 2015, flash floods in northern Macedonia killed at least four people, including three children, and injured about a dozen. Mudslides have engulfed local roads and cut off a number of mountain villages around the city of Tetovo. City mayor Teuta Arifi said Monday night's rainstorm was the worst in 30 years.