Volunteers provide assistance to Roma communities after the floods

تم النشر: 4 يونيو 2014 20:29 CET

By Nicole Robicheau, IFRC

Early one weekend morning, volunteers at the New Sarajevo Red Cross branch load up boxes into a truck donated by DHL. Food, hygiene products and clothes are being brought to a Roma community 200 kilometres north of the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“They are often marginalized in the whole country and now they are flooded,” says volunteer Amina Kurtagic. “We received information two days ago that they have nothing to eat, no clothes, and no hygiene products.”  

After the nearly four-hour drive, volunteers arrive at the town of Modricki Lug to be greeted by community member Aida Muratovic, who had contacted the Red Cross for assistance. She and the volunteers then drive around the small community and distribute aid to the most vulnerable families.

“There are around 50 houses in the community, and all of them have been affected by the floods,” says Aida.

Although other organizations have been providing assistance, Aida says the situation is particularly difficult for Roma communities as most of them are unable to find work. Since the floods, many people have been going around and collecting discarded goods damaged by the floods to try and sell them, but according to Aida, the police stop them.

Red Cross volunteers stop in front of Fehratovic Azra’s house to give her food and diapers for her children. The 27-year-old young mother of three points to the line on her house where the water came up to, which is nearly up to her chest.

“The water came up quickly and we went up to my cousin’s house to hide on the top floor,” said Fehratovic.

Three days later boats came to rescue them. All of their kitchen appliances and furniture have now been damaged. They are sleeping on the floor in what was once their kitchen, which needs to be entirely renovated now.

Since the moments after the flood, the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina has been providing assistance to vulnerable communities like Modricki Lug. The IFRC has launched an emergency appeal to assist with recovery efforts, focussing on both immediate needs and longer-term recovery.