Latest natural disaster in Serbia draws more support

Published: 27 September 2014 12:30 CET

By Andreea Anca, IFRC Europe Zone

A new wave of floods that hit isolated villages in the eastern parts of Serbia last week prompted the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to release emergency funds yesterday, 25 September in support of the Red Cross of Serbia operations in the country.

The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of CHF 152, 646 contributes to the operations in the eastern areas of Kladovo, Majdanpek and Negotin municipalities, where an estimated of 7,000 people were affected and 400 were evacuated by police and civil protection rescue teams.

In villages such as Tekija and Kladovo the floods and landslides buried entire houses under the mud, causing considerable damage to road and telecommunications infrastructure.

The Red Cross volunteers delivered bottled water, canned meat, pate and ready-to-eat meals and blankets to Negotin on 16 September 2014, the day after the water violently surged through the streets of the village. A Red Cross team was deployed to Boljetin, the most affected village in the Majdanpek region.

IFRC support

This year, the IFRC has taken a series of supportive actions in response to the unprecedented number of floods that affected different parts of Serbia.

The most significant was the launch of the CHF 4,485,096 Emergency Appeal in May, after the country was hit by the worst floods in more than a century, claiming 51 lives and affecting more than 1,5 million people.

The areas affected last week are not part of the current operation covered by the emergency appeal launched in May.

This is the third time that the IFRC releases emergency funds for the floods in Serbia this year. The first DREF of CHF 14, 877 was released in April, supporting recovery efforts from heavy rains and landslides in the eastern, western and southern parts of the country. The second DREF of CHF 290, 926 in May anticipated the Emergency Appeal and supported mainly the areas around Belgrade, which were the worst affected.

The current DREF will aid the assistance of 3,100 people with food and non-food items, and rehabilitation and cleaning of homes.

This year many countries in the  Balkans were hit by the worst floods in many years, affecting some 3 million people and claiming more than 80 lives in total.

The Red Cross of Serbia has vast experience in mobilizing volunteers in disasters, with the aim of assisting people in need, implementing relief distributions, organizing basic disaster response and first aid particularly responding to floods.

Each Red Cross branch has a disaster response team with the wide range of activities including water rescue teams that are able to assist in emergency evacuations.

The National Society is maintaining a solid disaster response stock which enables its Disaster Management department to intervene during the first hours of any disaster.