Vital ShelterBox aid has arrived in Serbia today to help families who have been affected by the Balkans flooding and more aid is due to arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the next few days.
ShelterBox response team volunteers Colin Bradbury and Torstein Nielsen carried out needs assessments in Serbia’s municipalities of Paracin, Despotovac and Svilanjav, all south of the capital Belgrade.
‘Every day the floodwater levels are getting lower but we are still finding houses submerged under several metres of water,’ said Colin.
‘The amount of destruction is enormous,’ added Torstein. ‘Not only are homes damaged but also infrastructure including roads and bridges as well as water and electricity supplies. Schools have been hit. The extent of the flooding is overwhelming.’
Threat of new landslides
Numerous landslides have caused further damage to buildings and infrastructure and there is a threat of new landslides occurring with the relentless rains. Another major concern is agricultural losses including this year´s harvest and harm to the soil itself.
‘With the number of inhabitable houses there is a need for emergency shelter here,’ said Colin. ‘We have also seen a great need for water purification kits as drinking water is contaminated in many areas.’
ShelterBox has sent tents, water filters and carriers, blankets, groundsheets and solar lamps. Mosquito nets have been provided in Serbia and Bosnia to help protect families against the threat of waterborne diseases.
Waterbourne diseases on the rise
‘Biological decontamination is ongoing in several places but not in the rural areas,’ added Colin. ‘Mosquitos are already rife and in many areas the number of the disease-carrying insects are on the rise due to heavy rains, flooding and high temperatures. Bites can lead to huge swellings and in some cases serious infections.
‘We are slowly going from a rescue phase over to the recovery phase,’ said Torstein. ‘It will be a long road to recovery for Serbia.’
ShelterBox are working with local Rotary clubs, fire service and local government bodies to deliver the vital aid to those families in most need. A massive thanks to them and our supporters who have helped us rebuild lives in the Balkans.