Serbia : Extreme Winter Conditions Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRRS007

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Due to extreme winds (120-150 kilometres per hour), snow drifts paralyzed traffic along the international highway E-75, but also down to many local and district roads especially in Vojvodina province. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded for three days, some for more than 15 hours, while the cold weather and the snow drifts made further travel challenging. Finally the Government of Serbia mobilised almost all available heavy machinery on Saturday, 01.02.2014, to clean the roads and to get access to vehicles at the critical points. In these efforts the Military, the Police Forces, and the Emergency Management Department with fire-fighters were mobilised, and a rescue operation was launched and completed. It is estimated that more than 1,000 vehicles were stranded in the snow. Emergency airlifts were initiated as the most effective way to reach those almost frozen in their cars. A state of emergency was proclaimed in three municipalities, Backa Topola, Zrenjanin and Kikinda as of Sunday 02.02.2014. The Red Cross of Serbia, in coordination with the State Emergency Services was engaged for the protection and rescue as of Saturday morning in the provision of assistance to the most affected travellers. The number of evacuated passengers from the snow-captured vehicles from the highway E75, on the sections in Backa Topola and Mali Idjos reached 2,000 people on Sunday, 02.02.2014.