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Preliminary Appeal: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina Flooding

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Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been affected by a devastating cyclone, which has resulted in record flooding from heavy rains. Throughout the region dozens are confirmed dead, and many people are still missing. More than 60,000 people have been evacuated and tens of thousands of households have been completely destroyed or severely damaged and remain without electricity or potable water.

Bridges and roads have been damaged, which makes it difficult to carry out detailed assessments and to provide accurate figures. But preliminary assessments done by ACT Alliance members, authorities, Red Cross and other partners have shown a wide range of needs and interventions ranging from personal hygiene supplies to major infrastructure repairs. What is required for the short term is food, water, major infrastructure and utility repair, demining and medications.


The ACT Alliance is a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy. CWS is among members of the ACT Alliance responding in this disaster, along with Philanthropy, the humanitarian arm of the Serbian Orthodox Church; International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), and Hungarian InterChurch Aid (HIA). All have many years of experience working in the Balkan region.

The response is done in coordination among these members to ensure that resources are used in the most effective way and that the specific strength of each is used strategically. The responding ACT members are collaborating to provide assistance in 10 to 15 districts of central and western Serbia and in four Cantons in the Republika Srpska of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to seeking $613,000 in funding to support the ACT Alliance appeal, CWS will be operational in two districts in central Serbia and the four Cantons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, providing food, personal health and hygiene supplies; disinfection equipment, tools and packs, and agricultural assessment and relief.

The ACT response will focus on food assistance, distribution of food packages and delivery of hygiene and cleaning supplies.

To date, CWS response has included small emergency grants to local partners in Serbia (Centre for Youth Integration in Belgrade for work in informal Roma settlements and to the Red Cross Smederevo for immediate aid in food, clothing and hygiene kits), and support for local partner in Bosnia and Herzegovina for doing assessments in the field in the flood-affected communities.

Together, to date, ACT members have delivered to Red Cross of Serbia quilts and blankets for chapters in Belgrade, Smederevo, Sabac and Kraljevo along with approximately 1,000 individual hygiene kits in Kraljevo. The Smederevo Red Cross received assistance in food, clothing, and hygiene kits. In addition, an eight-seat passenger van was made available to Red Cross of Serbia for use in evacuations and transport of volunteers. ACT members also provided immediate assistance in Belgrade to partners working in informal Roma settlements that were hit hard by heavy rains and floods and sought shelters in collective centers and temporary accommodations. Direct assistance in clothing, food and hygiene kits to collective centers across Belgrade also was provided.

ACT members will target families living in the semi-rural locations that are less likely to receive the most immediate attention from other service providers. During the beneficiary selection, special attention and priority will be provided for elderly people aged over 60 (especially for those who are living alone), the most vulnerable families, people with disabilities, women headed families and children/infants.

The projects outlined in this preliminary appeal have a length of three months. However, ACT members will carry out detailed needs assessments in the coming weeks and more detailed information on the target group, locations, type of support, and budget will be provided in a forthcoming full appeal for longer-term response.

For more information, see the ACT Alliance Preliminary Appeal.


Financial contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination/communion or to Church World Service, Attn. Appeal #6639, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Donations to our emergency response efforts around the globe may also be made online.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding, call 800-297-1516.

CWS Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program/CWS New York office: 212-870-3151.