Red Cross supports response in Serbia and Bosnia during catastrophic floods

Red Cross teams working in close cooperation with the emergency management sector and local emergency headquarters have been helping evacuate the population affected by severe floods in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The region has suffered unprecedented rainfall in recent weeks.

More than 4,000 have been evacuated so far as a result of what government sources have called the biggest Serbian disaster in recent history.

In Serbia, 420 Red Cross staff and volunteers assissted with evacuations in Valjevo and Lazarevac. 820 blankets, 130 rubber boots and 4,430 meat cans have already been distributed in affected municipalities. The operation was hindered in some parts of the country due to broken bridges and inaccessible roads. The urgent distribution of ready-to-eat meals, drinking water, blankets, mattresses, cots, rubber boots, hygiene items will continue over the weekend.

This is the third response operation the Serbia Red Cross has been involved in this year and the resources are stretched to the maximum as a result.

Depleted stocks

In Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities have declared a state of emergency as hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes in 14 municipalities, including Doboj, Maglaj, Brcko District, Olovo, Bijeljina, Lukavac, Kladanj, Srebrenica, Gradacac and Zvornik. The Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina delivered food parcels and drinking water on foot where the roads are blocked but also by jeep and boat. The society said it would continue to provide daily meals and drinking water for the affected population.

In the northern part of Bosnia, the society’s multi-purpose rescue teams, in cooperation with the BiH Departments of Public Security, set up temporary accommodation for the people who were evacuated. In Brcko District, the Red Cross teams performed medical evacuations and built sand bag flood defences.

The worst flood was reported in the capital Sarajevo and Tuzla regions, in the central parts of the country, as well as in the cities of Gorazde and Bijeljina. More flooding continues to threaten other parts of the country blocking the road access to some of the main cities.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has released funds through the Disaster Relief Emergeny Fund for both countries, which will be used to replenish stocks and to cover early recovery measures and materials.

So far, the Serbia Red Cross has assessed the need for materials and additional equipment for water drainage, dehumidifiers assistance and replenishment of its depleted emergency stock of blankets, mattresses, cots, rubber boots and food items.