ShelterBox is sending response teams to Serbia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina after unprecedented torrential rain causes widespread flooding, creating massive damage and destruction and forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days, causing rivers to burst their banks and sweep into people’s homes. Media outlets are calling these the worst floods in the Balkans for decades.
Northeast Bosnia and Herzegovina is the worst affected area where around 500,000 people have been evacuated or have left their homes while approximately one quarter of the country’s four million citizens are currently living without clean water. Landslides have buried homes and disturbed landmines laid during the war in the 1990s.
Meanwhile in Serbia, scores of emergency workers and volunteers have been loading sandbags along the River Sava to build barriers to prevent flood waters from entering their homes in the capital Belgrade and other such towns as Sabac and Stremska Mitrovica. There are also fears of various power plants that supply much of the country with electricity being inundated.
Shelter and water filtration
‘We will be following up with our in-country contacts when we arrive,’ said ShelterBox response team volunteer Tim Vile, who is heading to Bosnia and Herzegovina with Jamie Adams.
‘From the information we’ve been receiving over the last few days, it seems that many displaced families are staying with relatives, friends or in evacuation centres. We are going to meet our contacts and assess the need for emergency shelter and other aid items including water filtration.’
Response team member Colin Bradbury will be carrying out need assessments in Serbia with Torstein Nielsen and said:
‘The most affected area is to the west of Belgrade. It’s going to be challenging as it’s a very large area to cover, but through working with contacts in the country we will be able to assess the need for emergency aid.
‘As there are reports of large numbers of people staying cramped in schools and gyms, we are going to look at the option of offering tents to disperse the crowds, improving safety and privacy standards. We will also be looking at water filtration options.’