May 22, 2014 by Jim Stipe
Catholic Relief Services
Emergency Efforts to Reach Thousands Across Two Countries
SARAJEVO, May 22, 2014 — Catholic Relief Services (CRS) today announced a commitment of $500,000 in private funding to the urgent flood relief and recovery efforts across Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia following heavy rains and deadly flooding that have so far claimed 44 lives and displaced 37,000 people. The worst floods in more than a century have left tens of thousands of homes under water, contaminated the drinking water supply, and washed away vital crops and fodder for livestock.
“The scale of need is immense and comparable to the levels of destruction that occurred during the war two decades ago,” says Marc D’Silva, CRS Bosnia Herzegovina Country Representative. “We are seeing countless numbers of families who have lost their homes, newly-planted crops, and livestock. The unprecedented number of landslides has rendered entire communities unsafe for return. We are especially concerned by threat posed by thousands of landmines that have been dislodged through landslides or flash floods.”
During the week of May 12, the Balkans received as much rain over a three-day period as it normally receives over three months. As floodwaters are starting to recede, the most urgent needs are clean water, food, sanitation and clearing of debris, support for farmers to replant crops and salvage their flooded fields and fodder for livestock.
“Our field teams and partners will be reaching the most affected communities over the next several days to help families return home and start to rebuild their lives and livelihoods,” D’Silva says. On May 23, Catholic Relief Services is sending eight field “assessment” teams to visit the heavily-affected regions to evaluate the greatest needs for support. Catholic Relief Services is closely collaborating on emergency relief efforts with its local partners Caritas BKBiH, Caritas Serbia and Philanthropy.
Donations can be made online at www.crs.org, by phone in the United States at 1-877-435-7277, or by mailing a check to: Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21297-0303.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in 93 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief and @CRSnews, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.