Bosnia and Herzegovina

People in need is assisting the people of Bosnian Maglaj and Doboj in coping with flood aftermath

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Prague, Sarajevo, Belgrade (27 May 2014) – People in Need has provided the people of Bosnian Doboj and Maglaj with emergency relief while helping to clear up the flooded households. Apart from rubber gloves and sacks, the beneficiaries were given brief information on how to deal with the flood aftermath. At the same time, a five-member local team equipped with pressure washers is offering the households to help with the cleaning. Equipment such as buckets, brushes, brooms, gloves, or disinfectants will be distributed among hundreds of families. Simultaneously, the team of People in Need (PIN) is assessing the needs directly in the field - they are selecting damaged buildings, like schools, which require large-scale reconstruction. The organization's coordinators already present in Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be joined by another team member who will bring practical experience from floods in the Czech republic.

Aid can be sent either to the flood account 51945194/0300,
through online payment at www.peopleinneed.cz,
or via donors messaging service with the wording DMS SOSBALKAN to 87777.

In the very Doboj and Maglaj the water has already receded, so the people are now clearing up the houses and other buildings that were flooded. Moreover, the municipalities are organizing debris removal to dump sites. "The flood here has inflicted far greater damage that the floods in the Czech Republic last year. The local people had often learnt about the flood wave just 15 minutes before the evacuation itself, which means that they did not manage to take their things out. What's more, the water peaked higher, in some places as high as four meters", this is how Aleš Tomášek, PIN Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is drawing a comparison, and he adds that according to rough estimates there have been hundreds of households flooded only in the environs of Doboj and Maglaj.

"The water came so fast that we were not able to save anything. It flooded us as well as our parents, so we are now somehow surviving in makeshift conditions upstairs", says a middle-aged woman from Maglaj. Even though the shops or schools in the afflicted towns are not in operation, humanitarian aid has started flowing in. Frequently, it is coming from people from other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from Croatia or Slovenia. In addition, there have are distribution centres established by the Red Cross. "People are mostly staying on upper floors or with their relatives these days. After the initial shock, it has dawned on them", explains Aleš Tomášek as he adds, "The flooded are now especially in need of information on how to repair their own flats and houses properly".

In cooperation with the Municipality of Doboj, People in Need provides basic information about removing paint from walls, how to disinfect or dry plaster through distributing instruction leaflets to the affected. At the same time, it is lending a helping hand in the areas that are, for now, out of the reach of both humanitarian and state-provided aid. "Together with LAG, a local NGO, we assembled a five-member team in Doboj - they are cleaning the emptied houses by pressure washers", explains Aleš Tomášek, and he adds that the local non-governmental organization will also help with a planned distribution of buckets, brushes, brooms, disinfectants, or rubber gloves.

Furthermore, directly in the field People in Need is assessing the conditions of public buildings in order to find out which of them need to be repaired. For instance, the flood has damaged the primary school in Doboj, regularly attended by 1,240 children. "A wave as high as four meters hit several classrooms, the kitchen, computer room and also the gym with all its equipment. Even the floors and windows are destroyed - repairs will amount to millions of Czech crowns", says Aleš Tomášek while he concludes that it is still not clear what types of repair jobs will be funded by the state.

In Maglaj, the floodwater also struck the grammar school connected with secondary vocational school for altogether 950 pupils. "The water peaked at 1.5 metres, and as it had come really fast, the locals had not succeeded in taking any equipment from the ground floor to a safe place. The flood has destroyed 2,500 books, 20 computers, the kitchen equipment as well as that in the chemistry lab and other classrooms. These are the devices, machines, floors and windows that are permanently damaged. The local people saved at least the frames of desks and chairs", says Aleš Tomášek.

Apart from Bosnia and Herzegovina, PIN has its own coordinator in Serbia. At present, she is providing basic information on how to deal with a flooded house or flat, and she is also assessing the areas where People in Need's assistance might be needed.

The floods struck Serbia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina in mid-May. At that instant, People in Need initiated a public fundraising campaign for assisting the victims of the floods in these countries. Simultaneously, it released 1,000,000 CZK from the People in Need Club of Friends relief fund to provide aid in the respective areas.

Until today some 941,587 Czech crowns have been collected. In addition to that, The Vodafone Foundation will contribute with 200,000 CZK to the flood victims. The foundation also appealed on the Vodafone customers to make their own contribution for Serbia and also Bosnia and Herzegovina by a donor message (DMS) worth 30 CZK, while Vodafone will top up each DMS sent from a Vodafone number by another 30 CZK by the end of May.

For more information please contact:
Aleš Tomášek, PIN Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina, +38765175984,Ales.Tomasek@clovekvtisni.cz Šimon Pánek, PIN Managing Director,
+420 777 787 913, Simon.Panek@clovekvtisni.cz