A donor conference held in Brussels on July 16 has resulted in pledges of 809.2 million euro for Bosnia and Herzegovina and 995.2 million euro for Serbia in response to the aftermath of the devastating floods that hit the two countries in May 2014.
In May 2014, severe weather and damaging floods hit entire regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, resulting in several dozens of casualties in both countries, causing the destruction of public and private infrastructure, as well as hitting hundreds of thousands of households, many of whom, mostly vulnerable groups, still remain without proper shelter. Damage and economic losses amount to about two billion euro in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 1.5 billion euro in Serbia.
Following the disaster, both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina asked for help of the international community, which provided both countries with immediate assistance, including rescue teams, expertise and first necessity products, including through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
A European Commission statement noted that Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have now entered the reconstruction phase, which aims at quickly recovering from the disaster, preventing further threats and curbing the negative effects of the floods on their already fragile economies. The two countries underlined that the reconstruction efforts will go hand in hand with their ongoing sustainable reform processes.
With the view to responding to both countries call and to supporting both countries in their efforts, the European Commission, France and Slovenia convened the July 16 2014 International Donors’ Conference under the motto “Rebuilding Together”.
Delegations of more than 60 countries and 23 international organisations, as well as representatives from the civil society and private sector met in Brussels.
“The conference once again illustrated the great solidarity for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and managed to overall mobilise pledges of 809.2 million euro for Bosnia and Herzegovina and 995.2 million euro for Serbia to face the financial needs for 2014 of 650 million euro and 830 million euro respectively,” said the statement, adding that 41.4 million euro was pledged for cross-border activities.
“The financial assistance will provide the two countries with highly valuable help to answer the immediate needs of affected people before winter comes, starting with the reconstruction of houses and public buildings, rehabilitation of livelihoods as well as rapid restoration of water and energy supply,” the statement said.
“It will also contribute to consolidate flood management and protection, disaster prevention and rebuild transport and energy infrastructures. The assistance will be implemented in a coordinated manner, with EU support, by using the existing structures already in place in both countries and in close cooperation, with the international donors’ community.”
(Photo: EC ECHO EEAS EU Delegation BiH)