Bern, 25.05.2014 - To help deal with the consequences of the devastating floods in the Balkans, Swiss Humanitarian Aid has deployed additional experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to the affected regions. Moreover, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has allocated an additional CHF 300,000 for immediate action.
As a result of the flooding and heavy rainfall in the Balkans, people in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina have had to deal with hundreds of landslides which are threatening homes and entire communities, and the risk remains high, in particular for those returning home. Swiss Humanitarian Aid has therefore deployed environmental experts from the SHA expert pool to the stricken areas to help the authorities analyse sites at risk and prepare the necessary safety measures. The six extra experts will leave Switzerland for Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday night.
On Friday, two lorries left Bern with first consignments of emergency aid. The consignments, each containing two water-distribution modules (one module can provide enough drinking water in a day for at least 10,000 people) and a well-purification set to disinfect polluted water sources, arrived today in the affected areas. The additional water and sanitation experts and SHA logistics specialists, who will take more laboratories for bacterial analysis to the region today, will support the distribution and installation of the material.
The SDC, of which Swiss Humanitarian Aid is a part, has made a further CHF 300,000 available to implement the measures. Immediately after the floods hit the region, the SDC allocated CHF 500,000 in emergency support for the affected communities in the Western Balkans. The funds will also be used to support the activities of Caritas in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian Red Cross. Furthermore, Switzerland will support Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the reconstruction phase within the framework of its current engagement in the region.
To support efforts to deal with the devastating flooding, a Swiss Armed Forces transport helicopter has been deployed in the disaster zone. It has already completed 60 flights, transporting a total of 95 tonnes of material and 150 personnel to hard-to-reach areas.
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