1. Critical Issues for Children
Serbia was faced with the worst floods due to the heaviest rains seen in the region for more than a century. Heavy rainfall began on 13 May, as a result of a low-pressure area (Yvette internationally, Tamara in the Balkans) that formed over the Adriatic Sea due to polar air from Central Europe meeting with the humid subtropical air of the Mediterranean basin. After the rainfall ceased, several rivers – specifically, the Sava (Europe’s second longest river after the Volga), Kolubara, Drina, Mlava and Velika Morava rivers –continued to rise.
According to the official reports, there were 33 fatalities, over 32,000 people displaced, 1.6million people affected, and 773 are still missing. Among those evacuated, some 6,000, including many children, are housed in temporary accommodation facilities in Belgrade, organized by the City of Belgrade and coordinated by the Serbian Red Cross. A large number of the families in collective centres are Roma from informal settlements, the majority of whom lost their home and belongings in the flooding, with no projected timeframe for their return. Although the displaced are currently being relocated, as current collective centres are closed down, it is quite likely that the most vulnerable families will remain displaced for the coming 2-3 months.
The government revoked the state of emergency on the national level on 23 May. However, the state of emergency continues in 14 municipalities, including the cities of Sabac and Sremska Mitrovica. The most difficult situation remains in the City of Belgrade (Obrenovac, Umka, Lazarevac), Braničevo district (Kostolac), Mačva district (Šabac, Mali Zvornik, Krupanj, Loznica, Ljubovija, Vladimirci, Koceljeva and Bogatić), Srem district (Sremska Mitrovica and Šid), Pomoravlje district (Svilajnac, Ćuprija, Paraćin , Rekovac), Kolubara district (Valjevo, Ub, Ljig, Lajkovac, Osečina, Mionica), Morava district (Čacak , Lučani and Gornji Milanovac), Šumada district (Rača, Knić , Topola), Raška district (Kraljevo), Kragujevac.
According to the latest Government report, over 2,260 buildings have been flooded and more than 1,800 seriously damaged. Households have lost its furniture in the flooded houses and there is still no electricity. Households in the affected area have lost its agriculture production. All the affected areas have severe problems of with landslides and mudslides that threaten the critical infrastructure (roads, telecommunications, etc.).Water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged in flood affected areas. The clean water is at the moment supplied by the water tanks and through the humanitarian assistance received. To date, no health outbreaks have been recorded in the flooded areas, however, initial information confirms the water source for communities that rely on well water (approximately 11% of households in Sumadija and Western Serbia of roughly 1.6 million) is affected. Apart from this there are also other threats to public and environmental health, including contamination of soil due to flooding and effects the carcasses of animals killed in flooding may have on environment in the affected communities, even though the affected areas are being disinfected.
The floods are estimated to have damaged at least 52 schools, including 20 primary schools, and still an unknown number of pre-school facilities. The impact of the floods has left families that were already vulnerable in a dire situation of extreme poverty and deprivation. The Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy have estimated that 110,000 beneficiaries of the social welfare system have been directly affected and require immediate assistance.
In total 64 foster families and 98 foster children were impacted by the floods, the majority of which were evacuated. Out of these the majority were placed and under 1/3 in residential care accommodation.
After 10 days of field work, the UNDAC team is finalizing the assessment of the damage induced by the floods in Serbia. The experts of the UNDAC had come to Serbia upon the invitation of the Serbian Government, which will receive the report. The UNDAC Team has debrief the UNCT on 30th May afternoon. This report along with other assessment being conducted by the Ministry of Interior and the EU Civil Protection team, set the stage for the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) being contemplated, pending official request from Government.
UN Agencies are in the process of Identifying expertise that the UN could deploy to support the PDNA along with Expert from the EU and the World Bank.