Prague, Sarajevo, Belgrade (May 20th, 2014) - People in Need is sending two floods coordinators to Bosna and Herzegovina and Serbia. They will start investigating the situation after the most disastrous flooding since country’s modern records. They will seek to help with renovating the public buildings and objects. They will be also present physically in the area, registering people’s needs and sharing the experiences they have gathered during the restoration works after six major floods in the Czech Republic. Families and villages struck by the flooding will be also provided with a translated guidebook to help the citizens to deal with the aftermath. A new account was set up immediately after the catastrophe to help the victims of the flooding; people in Czech Repubic can also help by sending an SMS in the form “DMS SOSBALKAN” to the number 87777.
Potable water, food, clothes or basic tools for cleaning the flooded houses are now being distributed in areas swept by the flooding. Villages and households have started calculating the damage. “Both countries have almost no experience with flooding of this shape and intensity, they are asking primarily for information. That’s why we are sending over two skilled coordinators, who where present during the flooding in the Czech Republic last year,” said Simon Panek, director of the People in Need organization.
People in need will now concentrate on helping with the restoration, as we have quite a lot experience from the Czech Republic. Restoration works will start when the water recedes. It takes usually weeks or whole months and most of the financial help collected in the gathering is used up in it.
One of the coordinators is heading to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday to join the local partners and set out to one of the most affected areas, the towns Doboj and Maglaj by the valley of Bosnia river. The two towns were swept over with a four-meter flood wave. In Maglaj, a school building was harshly damaged; the same building that was reconstructed after the war in the nineties by Czech volunteers. The second coordinator will join the team of local partners and start the investigation of the damaged areas in Serbia.
“Our two coordinators will be sharing their experience and passing on methods used during flooding in the Czech Republic, especially with regards to the restoration of damaged housings and the facilities of families and households. They should also advice municipalities on how to distribute the humanitarian help fairly, in the later stages,” Simon Panek said. “At this moment we are also translating a guide book that will provide households struck by the flooding with many useful tips and advices,” he added.
Immediately after the catastrophe, People in Need has launched a public appeal in order to help the victims of the flooding in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. A million Czech Crowns (over 36 000 EUR) has also been released from the humanitarian fund Friends Club of the People in Need, designated for the two countries.
Situation in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
The total number of victims in both countries is reaching fifty, and is definitely not final, as the locals say. Half a million citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone had to leave their homes according to BBC. Local representatives compare the level of destruction to the war in the nineties. A million people in Bosnia and Herzegovina still have no access to potable water and more than 100 000 houses in the country are destroyed to such an extent they won’t be inhabitable again. In Serbia, the authorities had to evacuate the whole town of Obrenovac with more that 23 thousand inhabitants and another 11 villages along the valley of the Sava river. The damages counted so far are well over a billion Czech Crowns.