Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia were struck by the biggest floods that affected the Balkan region in the past 120 years. According to the media reports, at least 33 people died and thousands are evacuated from their homes, while the economic damage is yet to be evaluated – but it is already worth hundred of millions of US Dollars.
Serbian and international rescue teams are present on the ground with their equipment, and the United Nations activated its international emergency response system for sudden-onset emergencies. Last night, the UN airplane carrying the equipment and food to support the rescue efforts arrived at the international airport Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, and the second on is expected to land on Monday.
Officials in Serbia said at least a dozen were killed in Obrenovac, 22 miles southwest of the capital, Belgrade, and five others died elsewhere in the country. Officials in Bosnia put the toll there at 15 dead, nine of them in the northern town of Doboj, where the Bosna River burst its banks. One person was reported dead in Croatia. Officials in all three nations said they expected the death toll to rise.
“Bosnia is facing a horrible catastrophe,” Bakir Izetbegovic, chairman of that country’s three-member presidency, told reporters while surveying the damage in the Maglaj, beside the swollen Bosna River. “We are still not fully aware of the actual dimensions of the catastrophe”, New York Times reported Monday.
At the moment, some 10,000 soldiers, and many thousands of citizens volunteers are taking part in humanitarian activities, collecting aid, fortifying the embankments with sandbags which is no short of heroic efforts to brace for the possible rise in the water level of the Sava river.
At this moment, the key priority for the country is to defend the key power-plants in Obrenovac and Kostolac, while evacuating the people in flooded cities. The rescue efforts are well organized and citizens show an amazing level of solidarity.
Together with the international rescue help from Russian Federation, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Slovenia, the United States, Japan, Greece and other European countries, a great deal of relief efforts and development aid is going to be needed in the coming days and weeks.
Within the United Nations system, except for the immediate relief efforts by UN OCHA, the development aid is expected from the World Bank in the aftermath of the floods.
MUNPlanet headquarters in Belgrade is located away from the Sava river, and is not in danger of flooding. Our staff members have joined the huge community efforts in flood disaster relief as volunteers on the rivers and by donating to the cause.