ECHO donation helps flood-affected families return to normal life

By Andreea Anca, IFRC

An ECHO donation of Euro 500,000 to Serbia reached more flood-affected families than planned with the help of the Red Cross of Serbia (RCS). The donation came in support of the on-going effort to restore damaged homes and help people return to normal life after the worst flood in a century hit vast swathes of the Balkan region in May.

More than 4000 Serbian families benefited from the ECHO donation, a number which exceeded the 3000 families initially planned to receive support.

Long-term recovery

In the aftermath of the floods the ECHO grant was used to provide 135,000 portions of canned meat and 45,000 ready-to-eat meals to the persons in areas severely hit by the disaster. As part of the long-term recovery effort, more than 4000 repair kits that contained wall paint, mortar, paint brushes, scrapers, ready-mixed plaster, protective gloves were distributed across thirteen municipalities over the past six months. Beneficiaries also received up to 12 300 hygienic kits, in the form of one parcel per family per month.

Most people affected by the floods reside in the municipality of Obrenovac, which was worst hit by high water levels and landslides.

Beneficiaries were selected according to their degree of vulnerability and priority was given to households led by women, elderly people, young families with children, families who did not benefit from assistance from other sources, people living with disabilities and chronic diseases and families with no sources of income.

The ECHO funds were channelled through the International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent in the framework of the revised Emergency Appeal of 3,84 million CHF initially launched in May last year.

Last year`s floods affected more than 3 million people across Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, with nearly one million people evacuated, and some 80 reported killed as a result. The economic impact has been enormous. Recovery is likely to take years.