Monday

23rd Jan 2017

EU countries send aid for Bosnia, Serbia floods

  • Helicopter surveys flood damage in Bosnia (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

A dozen EU countries have sent equipment to Bosnia and Serbia to help them deal with “the incredible force of nature” of springtime floods.

EU aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told press on Monday (19 May) the equipment includes helicopters, boats, tents, water pumps, water purification kits, medicine, food, mountain-going trucks and around 450 disaster relief experts.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She noted that some landslides have disturbed wartime landmines, posing a threat to people trying to dig out their possessions.

“Houses have been buried … in areas where there is a need for de-mining and the EU will be looking into how to assist with this problem for the local population.”

She warned that while forecasts indicate less rain, sunny weather poses a danger of melting mountain snows.

“The risks [of these kinds of events] are more severe than ever due to climate change,” she added.

The member states offering assistance include: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; the Czech Republic; Croatia; France; Germany; Latvia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Slovenia; and the UK. The US and Russia have also sent help.

Georgieva noted that as an “associate” EU country further down the road to membership, Serbia will be eligible for up to €1 billion in reconstruction money from the European Solidarity Fund, but Bosnia will have to look to “different” EU budget lines.

With Bosnia hamstrung by administrative failures in its normal day-to-day life, she praised the way the country has “mobilised from the bottom-up” to withstand “the incredible force of nature”.

Heavy rainfall in the region began on 13 May, with the two Balkan states formally filing for EU assistance four days later.

The flooding has affected 1 million people in Bosnia and 300,000 in Serbia, with some 500,000 evacuated from their homes and at least 47 killed.

In Serbia, the water also threatens to damage the country’s biggest power plant, the Nikola Tesla complex near Belgrade.

Bosnia is said to have about 120,000 unexploded landmines in more than 9,400 sites dating from its 1992 to 1995 war.

Many of them were buried near river banks and have already killed some 600 people and wounded 1,110 in accidents over the past 20 years.

"Water and landslides have possibly moved some mines and taken away mine warning signs … [people] must be extremely cautious when they start cleaning their houses, land, or gardens as the remaining mud could hide mines and other explosive devices brought by rivers,” Sasa Obradovic, from Bosnia’s Mine Action Centre told AFP.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey