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Serbian government strives to normalise life in flood-stricken areas

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Secanj, Aug 29, 2005 - During a visit to areas of central Banat hit hard this year by floods, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said he was pleased that the government's promise to rebuild homes has been fulfilled in the three months following the damaging floods.

Together with Serbian Minister of Capital Investment and Head of the crisis response team for giving aid to the flood-stricken municipalities in Central Banat, Velimir Ilic, Minister of Economy Predrag Bubalo, representatives of the local self-government and the Executive Council of Vojvodina, and church representatives, Kostunica visited Secanj and the village of Jasa Tomic today to see how the works on the rebuilding are progressing, as well as what else is needed to bring life in central Banat back to normal.

Kostunica pointed out that the first impression is more than favourable and that he is satisfied with the results. The village of Jasa Tomic is currently the largest construction site in Serbia, he added.

Kostunica stressed that the Serbian government, together with the Vojvodina authorities, have done their best to give people back the lives they had before the floods, or even better ones, because "this is an opportunity to build such new houses that will be able to withstand another inclemency".

He pointed out that in the past three months, a great deal of solidarity has been shown, regardless of nationality, proving that the feeling of unity exists both in Serbia and Vojvodina.

Kostunica said that at a meeting today of the crisis response team, focusing on the realisation of the government project on rebuilding the flood-stricken municipalities, there was a discussion on technical details concerning what has been done and what remains to be completed.

Though the season was not favourable for building because of the rain, Kostunica said he expects all the works to be completed as planned, by late November, with the help of the Serbian government, the Vojvodina Executive Council, the local self-government, and the Minister of Capital Investment.

Stressing that this construction season has been very difficult, Minister Ilic said that the Serbian government intends to permanently solve the problem of dams in the entire region of Central Banat. The government has adopted a relevant programme and will secure funds to prevent similar situations from happening.

He voiced satisfaction with the work of the crisis response team, which accepted subsequent requests by citizens whose houses suffered additional damage and who will also get new houses. According to Ilic, 355 houses will be built in Jasa Tomic.

Minister Ilic said that the Jasa Tomic village will be the only one to have wastewater processing systems. The problems with sewage and supply of gas, water and electricity will also be tackled.

Kostunica said that members of the government have seen larger residential buildings being built along with makeshift and regular houses in the villages of Secanj, Jasa Tomic, and Medja today.

He stressed that over the past three months, the ministries of capital investment, economy, and agriculture have worked day and night to resolve problems in this area.

Ilic announced that the reconstruction of houses damaged in floods in Medja will begin tomorrow, adding that the works will be carried out very quickly.

He added that the infrastructure in Medja will also be finished very soon and he recalled that the government has bought seven old houses in this village and given them to new owners.