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The photo that shook Serbia: 2-year-old boy sleeping on a suitcase, the flood destroyed his home

Little Mihael from Bela Palanka wanted to be with his parents in their flooded house, so when he got sleepy, having no other place to go to bed, he fell asleep on a suitcase

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Novica Našić, Bela Palanka, poplava

Photo: Private archive

A two-year-old boy lying on a red suitcase is a photo that not only moved, but also shook everyone who came across it on social networks in the previous days.

The photo was taken in Bela Palanka, in a house where, due to a terrible flood that hit this town on January 12, everything got destroyed. The photo shows the sleeping toddler, who wanted to be in his home with his parents, even though the flood destroyed his bed.

The boy's father Novica told Telegraf.rs that the child was trying hard not to fall asleep, but in the end, in the afternoon, sleep overcame him. That's how little Mihael, having nowhere else to go, fell asleep on the suitcase.

Soon the news that Nasici had lost everything in the flood spread to the surrounding towns, and humane people organized to help, led by Nina Cvetkovic from Pirot who visited this family and found a sad sight: two rooms and a kitchen full of moisture, without a single piece of furniture, bed, table, chair... and a two-year-old boy who, as this humane woman tells us, followed his mother, clinging to her and saying, "Mom, I'm hungry."

"Even now I feel like crying when I remember those scenes, when I stepped inside their house. Humane people organized and we raised money for some food. When he saw me, Mihael said, 'Do you want to buy me a chewing gum?', and I tried to stay focused and not cry. Among the groceries was a chocolate spread, he ate it with his fingers, that's how hungry he was," Nina told Telegraf.rs.

She said that a large number of humane people joined forces to provide accommodation for the Nasici family. They rented an apartment for them and paid rent and utilities for the next two months.

"Everything I had disappeared in an instant"

Father Novica thanked everyone, describing in detail the morning in which he lost all the material things he had made in life.

"Even before that, I noticed that something strange was happening. While I was in the house, I heard water, that sound was as if it was running from a faucet. My wife and I were thinking about whether to stay at home that night or go to my sister's. I told her, 'This doesn't look good to me' and we left with our son," says Novica.

He was awakened the next morning by his aunt, who was upset.

"She told me to go to my house quickly, that it looked like everything was flooded. The water had not yet come up when I approached the house, there was maybe some 60 centimeters. I entered the house, everything was still dry. Literally after a minute, I opened the outer door, and a whole torrent of water flooded me. The water was higher than a meter in a blink of time. In that chaos, I only managed to pick up my phone and some diapers. Nothing else," our interlocutor recalls.

When he left the house, the water was already higher than a meter and a half.

"My wife and son slept at the relatives' house in those first days, when the water receded I would come home to heat it, so that the walls would dry. I didn't even sleep those nights. Everything was destroyed. In our bedroom, the water had reached 1.8 meters. I was making all that myself for years, and then I watched everything fall apart before my eyes," says Nasic.

The family want to return to their home as soon as possible, and humane people who want to help them in that, can contact Nina Cvetkovic using the following phone number: 061 1994 811.

Video: The Serbian Army is deployed to help the population in flooded municipalities


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