By Nicole Robicheau, IFRC
One month after the devastating floods that forced tens of thousands of people to leave their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kata Djukic sits on a mattress on the floor of an elementary school in Orasje. This has been her makeshift home since she was evacuated by boat from the town of Domaljevac.
“I was in my house until the boat could come to the second floor and I could step from the floor into the boat,” says Kata.
In the process, she fell and cracked a rib, from which she is still recovering. She says the water came up quickly and soon it was four metres high, reaching the second floor of the home she shares with her husband. Next door, her daughter and son-in-law live with their four children. The floods destroyed nearly everything in both houses. “The walls are all there is left,” says Djukic.
Each day she takes care of her grandson at the shelter while the rest of her family goes to clean both houses. Although much of the water has receded in the affected areas, half a metre of water still remains in her home. Many people have moved back into their homes, but some, like Kata and her family, still remain in evacuation centres.
There are 120 people currently staying both in this elementary school and the high school just beside it. Across Bosnia and Herzegovina, roughly 1,500 people still remain in 55 evacuation centres. Kata Djukic was told she will likely need to stay there for at least another three months.
Not only have most people lost everything in their homes, but many have also lost their livelihoods.
Before the floods, Djukic had three bulls, two cows, and ten pigs. Only one pig survived. In addition, they had a garden in which they planted corn, soy, and wheat, which they sold. “This is how we were living since the war, and now we have lost everything,” she says.
The Red Cross is continuing to provide food, hygiene kits and support in the evacuation centres to people like Kata until they can get back on their feet.
“Here, I don’t need anything and I am very grateful for the help I receive,” says Kata. “I watched my life vanish in the water, I hope no one will have to live through this again.”