June 1, 2014

ADRA Rebuilding Lives Shattered by Balkan Floods

, tedNEWS

ADRA, the Adventist
relief agency, has distributed more than 100 tons of food, water and clothing
to thousands of people affected by record flooding in Serbia,
Bosnia and Croatia and is now starting the difficult task of cleaning up mud
and debris.

Igor Mitrović,
director of ADRA-Serbia, the agency’s local branch, said a groundswell of worldwide
support has led to an enormous amount of humanitarian aid being distributed to
the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by mid-May rain and floods, the
worst since records began 120 years ago.

A view of devastation left by floods in Krupanj, Serbia. Photo credit: ADRA

But he
fretted that the international community would forget once the tedious work of
rebuilding got under way in the devastated parts of the three Balkan countries.

“To be
honest, we are in the middle of a humanitarian hysteria at the moment. Everyone
wants to help each other — which is good!” he said.

this will abate and then the real needs of those affected will begin to emerge
— such as psychological help, support for rebuilding people’s houses and
livelihoods and, most importantly, hope for their future,” he said.

He and
other ADRA leaders pledged to stay for the long run.

“We will
partner with government and civil organizations to ensure long-term support,
especially to those in the marginalized parts of Serbia,” he said.

The contents of an ADRA care package distributed in Serbia include macaroni, milk and fruit juice. Photo credit: ADRA-Serbia

his words into action, ADRA-Serbia is
working with the Serbian Red Cross and the leaders and members of the local
emergency coordination board to clear up the mud and debris from roads and
houses that have been flooded. Volunteers also are cleaning and disinfecting
and drying flooded houses, distributing basic non-food items for households,
and providing money to people who lost their incomes because of the destruction
of agricultural land and other employment, it said.

implemented an early response relief project within a week of Serbia declaring
a state of emergency. In cooperation with the Serbian Red Cross, more than 640
food relief packages were distributed to 2,400 people from the stricken towns
of Obrenovac, Paraćin, Šabac and Ub, it said.

In Croatia,
the local branch of ADRA was among the first to send humanitarian aid after heavy
rain and flooding devastated the eastern European countries in mid-May, said its
director, Ileana Radojević.

A total of
107 tons of water, food, and clothes were distributed: 30 tons to Serbia, 37
tons to Bosnia and 40 tons to eastern Croatia.

A Serbian man receiving assistance from ADRA volunteers. Photo credit: ADRA-Serbia

The next
project is to help people clean up their communities and return theirs lives to
normal, Radojević said.

ADRA-Bosnia & Herzegovina, working
with 40 volunteers, distributed more than 4,000 parcels with food, water and
hygiene materials.

“Our focus is mainly on the city of Doboj,
and we have received 250 drying machines that will dry houses for poor people
as well as some important public institutions,” said Božidar Mihajlović, director
for the local ADRA office.

ADRA also will send 100 volunteers from
Sarajevo and Banjaluka to help clean up Doboj.

“We are inviting all experts to make
plans to not just rebuild the city but also make a vision for a better and more
beautiful Doboj,” Mihajlović said. “This has been a catastrophe, but it is also
an opportunity for a new future.”

ADRA is collecting
donations and seeking volunteers to rebuild damaged churches and homes and to
help people in need. For information, contact Steve Cooper, ADRA/TED director,
by e-mail:
[email protected].

Related links

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