By Mike Rowbottom

Floods which have caused chaos across Serbia will not prevent the European Rowing Championships taking place in Belgrade, insist organisers ©Getty ImagesOrganisers of the European Rowing Championships, due to take place from May 30 to June 1 at Sava Lake in Belgrade, have assured all competing nations the event will go ahead despite the recent flooding which they describe as "the worst natural catastrophe in Serbia's history".

"Despite the recent tragic flooding that has taken place last week in Serbia - floods that have ravaged numerous towns in vast areas throughout our country - the preparations for a successful 2014 European Rowing Championship are going forward as planned," Nebojsa Jevremovic, secretary general of the Serbian Rowing Association, wrote in an open letter to the sport.

"Dear friends, the gravity of the worst natural catastrophe in the Serbia's history is immeasurable.

"The number of human casualties, loss of material goods, homes, natural and economic resources have put the Organizing Committee in front of a great task of successfully finalizing the preparations for the European Championships; a process that has been in the works for the past two years.

"Serbia has proclaimed a multiple day period of mourning so the Organizing Committee will follow through with the Opening Ceremony in accordance with the current situation in our country."

But Jevremovic made it clear that there were no immediate reasons for concern on behalf of the impending event.

"The water level of the Sava River which surrounds the venue is at the usual level for this time of year and does not present a threat," he wrote.

"With this in mind, the safety of all of the participants and spectators of the 2014 European Rowing Championships in Belgrade is assured."

China's Xiuyun Zhang en route to singles sculls victory on the Belgrade rowing lake in May 2012 at the Samsung World Rowing Cup ©Getty ImagesChina's Xiuyun Zhang en route to singles sculls victory on the Belgrade rowing lake in May 2012 at the Samsung World Rowing Cup ©Getty Images

A spokesperson for British Rowing, which is sending a senior squad to these Championships for the first time since they were reinstated on the international calendar in 2007, told insidethegames:  "We are taking guidance from the International Rowing Federation (FISA), who have said that the event will go ahead as normal."

Jevremovic added the water level of the Sava River which surrounds proposed venue was not critical in any case as the water level of the rowing course is "closely regulated" by water pumps.

The water levels of Sava Lake are controlled by two dams that provide a constant water level.

"Here, on the rowing course, it is normal," he said.

"We continue to prepare as normal.

"The City of Belgrade was not hit by the floods and all city systems such as electricity, water supply, telecommunications, public transport, aero transport - including the Nikola Tesla Airport - and hotels function normally.

"The city's water supply was not affected; therefore it is clean and safe for drinking.

"All highways that pass through Belgrade - E-75 and E-80 - are open, and traffic flow is as usual.

"This means that boat transport can take place as planned on the usual routes.

"The Serbian Rowing Federation and the Organising Committee are in continuous contact with the Serbian Government, the National Ministry of Youth and Sport, as well as the City Government.

"Everyone is closely following this very difficult situation, but not once was the organisation of the European Rowing Championship brought into question."

Jevremovic admitted organisers had had "some problems tied to the direct help of certain City Public Services in a few parts of the organisation."

He explained: "These offices are currently being used to help rescue people affected by the floods as well as collecting material goods.

"The OC has foreseen this and has put a reserve plan into action for these parts of the organization.

"This plan is continuing with no complications.

"Finally, I would like to thank all European Rowing Federations that, through their participation, will contribute to making the 2014 European Rowing Championships the best event of this calibre yet.

"The Serbian Rowing Federation and the Organizing Committee will make sure that your team members have optimum conditions for the competition in accordance with all FISA requirements, and that they will, even with these unforeseen circumstances, take only the best memories from Belgrade."

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