Description of the disaster
Torrential rainfalls began in Serbia on 13 May 2014, with rainfalls in two days’ time equalling to two months` average precipitation as a result of a low-pressure area that formed over the Adriatic Sea due to polar air from Central Europe meeting with the humid subtropical air of the Mediterranean basin. The floods and landslides caused 51 casualties, 23 of which were people who drowned. A national state of emergency was declared on 15 May 2014 by the Government of Serbia.
Most badly affected were the territories of Valjevo, Lazarevac, Obrenovac, Krupanj, Svilajnac and Paraćin among other cities and municipalities. The response from the Government of Serbia had been reinforced through widespread activities of the volunteers who accepted the public calls for volunteering and were sent to sites to build new temporary dams around the endangered cities. Many organizations and private people organized public campaigns to collect goods and money. The Government of Serbia established an office for the assistance and recovery of the flooded areas. The European Union`s disaster response mechanism was also involved in the coordination of international support.
The floods and landslides caused the total destruction of some 430 housing units while over 19,000 flats and other housing units were partially damaged. The damage to the housing sector was estimated at EUR 227 million. The total economic losses reached EUR 1.7 billion2 . With EU assistance, 1,000 most vulnerable households were renovated, and 274 houses were provided as grants.
Summary of response
Overview of Host National Society
The Red Cross of Serbia is part of the formal in-country emergency response structure with a clear mandate for response actions, and it is represented at all levels; municipal, regional and state levels. Across the country the RC is formally in charge of receiving and distributing humanitarian assistance and helping out state structures with emergency evacuations and sheltering.
The Red Cross of Serbia started its relief activities from the onset of the emergency by supporting the authorities during the evacuation and temporarily sheltering the most vulnerable people, as well as distributing relief items. In the course of the most critical first two months, the Red Cross of Serbia deployed 6,889 volunteers and staff who were working and helping people more than 783,151 hours with voluntary work worth some CHF 2,087,620. In the operation, 149 local branches of the Red Cross of Serbia were responding to the floods. Belgrade City's Emergency Headquarters made a decision that all collective centres in Belgrade (11 centres) were to be handled by the Red Cross. As time passed, the Red Cross shifted its activities from relief to recovery support of the damaged households. As a result, 12,720 beneficiaries received a cash grant of CHF 255 per household. Additionally, the National Society handed out 10,700 wall repair sets to the beneficiaries.
The RC of Serbia distributed 5,720 metric tons of goods from its warehouses. Besides the distribution of humanitarian aid to the affected people, the Red Cross of Serbia assisted those sheltered in 118 collective centres with the distribution of food and non-food items including second hand clothes, mattresses and blankets. Through the work of the mobile technical teams of the Red Cross of Serbia 6,083 volunteering hours were spent on the dehumidification of 2,328 buildings in 21 municipalities with 332,409 operational hours, deploying 272 dehumidifiers.
Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country
Coordination among Movement partners was ensured through regular information exchange with representatives of the IFRC and the ICRC. Many Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies around the world organized local fundraising campaigns for the victims of the floods in the Balkans. The IFRC assisted the Red Cross of Serbia through an immediate DREF allocation of CHF 290,926 and, shortly afterwards, with the launch of an Emergency Appeal. Partner National Societies provided bilateral cash donations. In partnership with the Austrian RC-led consortium comprising the Austrian Development Agency, the Organization “Neighbours in Need” and the Swiss Red Cross, the “Great Morava River Early Recovery and Resilience Project” was launched. The project was aligned with other recovery activities undertaken by the RCS. Through the programme implementation, 3,802 beneficiaries received an unconditional cash transfer of CHF 255 each. The National Society organised a number of field visits and meetings with key partners such as ECHO, Canadian Red Cross, French Red Cross and different teams from the IFRC Regional Office, who closely followed up on the implementation.
Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies actively involved in the operation (both bilaterally and multilaterally): American Red Cross, Austrian Red Cross, Belarus Red Cross, Bulgarian Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, Croatian Red Cross; Czech Red Cross, Cyprus Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, Estonian Red Cross, Finnish Red Cross, French Red Cross, German Red Cross, Hellenic Red Cross, Hungarian Red Cross, Italian Red Cross, Irish Red Cross, Iranian Red Crescent, Japanese Red Cross, Lithuanian Red Cross, Luxembourg Red Cross, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Red Cross, Monaco Red Cross, Montenegro Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross, Norwegian Red Cross, Romanian Red Cross, Russian Red Cross, Slovenian Red Cross, Slovak Red Cross, Swedish Red Cross, Spanish Red Cross, Swiss Red Cross, Republic of Korea National Red Cross, Turkish Red Crescent.