The number of Member States that offered assistance to Serbia and to Bosnia and Herzegovina is increasing. Nineteen countries so far made resources and Civil Protection personnel available to the two states, in order to help them overcoming the worst floods in more than a century. The European Commission is coordinating the assistance, co-financing the costs for transportation costs and producing satellite images of the affected areas.
“Offers for assistance keep coming in and I am extremely grateful for this expression of European solidarity,” commented Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner of the European Union for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, in Belgrade for meeting the government, civil protection authorities and some of the European rescuers who are working in the damaged areas. According to the Commissioner, “Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina will also need help to reconstruct damaged infrastructure and restore public services as well as to get people back into their homes.” NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was in the region too.
Balkans were hit by floods which affected millions of persons, more than a quarter of their population. According to the Bosnian Foreign Minister, Zlatko Lagumdzija, over 100,000 homes and buildings are not fit for habitation nor usage and over 1 million persons have no running water. The government required 12 villages to be evacuated. There are at least 500,000 evacuees in Bosnia and 25,000 in Serbia. About 50 verified deaths, yet the figures could rise when floods start getting back.
So far about 400 relief workers from the Member States were deployed through the European Civil Protection Mechanism; among other things, they are helping ensure the continuity of key power stations in Serbia.
Serbia has also asked for high capacity water pumps and teams operating them, boats and rescue helicopters, while Bosnia and Herzegovina requested helicopters and motor boats to evacuate people and to transport water, medicines and food. Additionally, Bosnia and Herzegovina sent a request for pumps, generators, tents, humidity dryers, water purification sets, gas heaters for tents, and sanitation items.