UK sends engineers to save Croatia dam

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN is sending a team of engineers to Croatia to help to save a dam from bursting and flooding 20,000 villagers' homes.

'The humanitarian consequences of the collapse of the dam could be horrific. We have the capacity to help and I am pleased that we have been able to respond so quickly,' said the Minister for Overseas Development, Baroness Chalker.

Croatian engineers were fighting yesterday to save the Peruca dam from collapse, while the Serbs and Croats traded accusations over who wrecked the structure, formerly the biggest supplier of electricity in Dalmatia.

The Serbs blamed the holes on Croatian artillery shells fired during a battle for control of the dam. The Croats insist that the Serbs detonated several mines before they fled. The dam's control room looked like a 'twisted hunk of metal', an eyewitness said.

A senior local Serbian commander said yesterday that his forces have agreed to a UN-brokered ceasefire to allow repairs to the structure that holds back a 12- mile lake.