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A meeting of expert teams for demining from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

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In the area of Spačva forests a first regional meeting of expert teams of the Mine Action centers from the region was held. Representatives from Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina met upon the initiative of CROMAC. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange all relevant information and which could be of use in alleviating the consequences of recent flooding.

Besides the experts from Croatia, represented by the CROMAC Director, Mr. Dražen Jakopec and the head of the CROMAC's regional office East, Mr. Dubravko Krušvarovski in the future the Director of the Serbian demining center, Mr. Branislav Jovanović and his deputy Mr. Dragan Jovanović as well as the assistants to the Director of Centre for the removal of mines BIH, Mr.Ahdin Orahovac and Mr. Milan Rezo.

The meeting was attended also by the Head of the Croatian Government Office for Mine Action, Dijana Pleština, Ph.D., Head of regional BIH Center for the removal of mines Brčko, Mr. Esad Aletić, Mr. Hrvoje Debač from Govt. Office for Mine Action, Mr. Ante Brkljačić and Mr. Neven Karas from CROMAC and Mr. Zlatko Cegledi, the Manager of the Croatian Forrest authority Vinkovci.

„The problem we have is common and it should be addressed as such. The main message is that our three countries should work together on solving the problem which surpasses the state and administrative borders as well as individual capacities of a single country. We shall work together on its resolution.“, stated Mrs. Pleština after the meeting

During the meeting all participants agreed that this disaster has by far struck Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the final estimates of damage and future problems cannot be estimated at this point. Following conclusions were drawn;

  • As long as this level of threat by flooding remains, the Mine Action Centers will communicate new information on daily basis via the members of the expert teams all information relevant to MSA in the flooded regions and on a weekly basis once the threat has subsided.
  • All of the Mine Action Centers will pay additional attention to the education of the local population as well as to all those involved in the rescue operations but also media which should assist in proliferating the information and alert the population. Once the waters subside the threat of mines and UXO, present before, will be even greater.
  • The assessment and analysis of the new situation after withdrawal of the flood waters will be a priority as well as the marcation of the new MSA. Mine Action Centers will also initiate the creation of the new Standard Operating Procedures in order to establish a professional norms of the action in such situations.
  • The current situation has once again demonstrated what kind of threat to normal life and activities pose the remaining Mines and the MAC's will in accordance with their respective capacities point out the lack of funding for demining.
  • The next meeting of the Expert team will be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Bosnian team will notify other parties of the exact time and place at a latter date.

Mrs. Dijana Pleština and Mr. Dražen Jakopec have attended a meeting along side with their Serbian and Bosnian colleagues in the State HQ for Rescue and protection where they informed the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior, Mr. Ranko Ostojić and his co-workers of the situation. In the recent events in Republic of Croatia there have been over 2,2km2 of MSA that has flooded in the Gunja, Vrbanja and Nijemci Municipalities. It has been agreed that the demining companies will demine the MSA in Gunja Municipality free of charge, as aid of sorts to the flood affected population. It is estimated that of total of 1.218km2 of MSA in Bosnia and Herzegovina about 900km2 have been affected by floods. The problem is expected to be the greatest in region along the Sava river of Bosnia.