A. Situation analysis
Description of the disaster
During May 2014, heavy rains fell over Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), causing massive flooding in the northern, eastern and central parts of the country bordering on Croatia and Serbia. The floods were the worst in 120 years and brought enormous destruction in a country that was still recovering from the consequences of the 1992-1995 war and where significant groups of population suffer from chronic poverty and unemployment. The natural disaster affected a quarter of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and approximately one million people, which is approximately 27% of the country’s population of 3.8 million. Nearly 50% of the local governments were affected by the floods, among them 46 suffered severe damage and destruction, where urban, industrial and rural areas were completely inundated by water and stayed without electricity, water or communications for several days. Consequently, houses, infrastructure, schools, hospitals, private facilities, farms and crops were wiped out, causing an interruption in the public services, local economy and agriculture activities.
After July 2014, the floods triggered more than 3,000 landslides in BiH destroying some 2,000 households and livelihoods. The summer was rainy and humid. Hence it delayed critical repairs and refurbishing.
At the beginning of August 2014, just as the situation began to normalize after the previous floods, heavy rains hit the central, northern and southern parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina again - causing new flooding, landslides, damages to property, infrastructure and agricultural lands. Some areas that had been hit by the May 2014 floods were flooded again (Zenica, Topcic Polje, Zepce, Zeljezno Polje, Banja Luka, Srebrenik, Tuzla, Celic, Lukavac, Gracanica, Doboj Istok, Celinac, Bijeljina, and Brcko District). Families living in the affected areas lost a significant portion of their livelihoods, often their only source of income, depleting the families’ resilience and coping mechanisms. The greatest damage occurred to residential buildings, thus worsening the humanitarian and social conditions even further.
The winter season brought heavy snowfalls and low temperatures putting additionally at risk the health and lives of the affected population. The floods further aggravated poverty, hampered economic growth and caused environmental damages and human suffering. Along the previous phases of the operation in the summer and autumn of 2014, the aim was to provide families whose houses were damaged with means to rehabilitate at least one room in their dwellings. In the conclusive phase of the Emergency Appeal, the focus shifted to rural families that lost their means for making a living from farming and other rural activities partially or completely.