Serbia (TWR/MNN) — A Christian broadcaster in Serbia is calling for believers around the world to concentrate prayer on the region, where flooding has devastated villages, driven people out of homes, and claimed lives.
The destruction in the area formerly known as Yugoslavia has been described as terrifyingly similar to the effects of the Bosnian War, which consumed much of the region in the 1990s. Drasko Djenovic, director of TWR (also known as Trans World Radio) national partner IKONOS in Belgrade, Serbia, reported Monday (May 19, 2014) that whole cities have been left without drinking water and electricity, and that concerns have been raised about the possibility of landmines left over from the war being unearthed and swept along by the waters.
Hastening to respond, IKONOS began Wednesday (May 21) replacing its regular 9:45 p.m. broadcasts with special programming aimed at those who are struggling amid the disaster. IKONOS hopes to reach those who need encouragement and the message that all true security lies in Christ, Djenovic said. “These programs are crisis-oriented but with a spiritual emphasis included.”
Djenovic added that the special Serbian-language programming likely will continue next week and that longer-range plans will be adjusted as the situation develops.
In Valjevo, Serbia, where IKONOS has a close relationship with the local evangelical church, the city is now split by a river that didn’t exist before the rains came, according to Djenovic. The rainfall that caused the flooding is the heaviest in 120 years.
News reports said at least four dozen people had been killed in the flooded area, which encompasses parts of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia, and that livestock and farmland had been swamped. An area of roughly 22,000 square kilometers (about 8,500 square miles)–larger than the nations of Israel or Slovenia–is under water.
Evangelical churches in the region have also been flooded and destroyed. “In all of Bosnia with four million people, there are no more than 600 believers because of the growth of Islam. For some people, if the church in Bosnia is under water, there is no church for another 50 to 100 kilometers.”
Djenovic asked for TWR staff, friends, and supporters to pray for IKONOS as it seeks the best way to help. TWR broadcasts every week in the official languages of the three countries: Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian. Among the programs are Messages of Reconciliation, Thru the Bible, and Women of Hope.
Djenovic also highlighted these prayer needs:
- “We are thankful to the Lord for all who managed to help rescue people from raging waters and for those who are involved in building sand dikes along the rivers, opening their homes to people who have lost everything, and assisting in other ways with the needy.”
- “We are grateful to God that this natural tragedy has brought together the people of Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia so they can help each other in this moment of suffering.”
- “We are praying for the tens of thousands who are left without homes or do not know what has happened to their loved ones and friends.”
- “We are praying for believers in the flooded cities of Bijeljina and Doboj in Bosnia and for the families and friends of those who died. Another unknown is the status of a church and a house in Paraćin, Serbia, where missionaries live and work and where floods have been reported.”
For additional information and updates on the Serbia flooding, click here.