Sarajevo, 19 April - Almost four years since the catastrophic floods that hit Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Union (EU) has contributed 12.5 million EUR towards the next phase of a 15 million EUR-worth UNDP programme designed to help struggling communities overcome the effects of this natural disaster.
“These floods were of epic proportions,” remembers Stanko Vincetić, the Mayor of the northern municipality of Orašje. “From the whole municipal territory, only the city center remained. Everything else was under water.” More than 2,180 housing units were damaged in this city of 21,500, which already suffered tremendously during the war in the 1990s.
“Material consequences will not be erased for another 50 to 100 years. To compensate for these material damages, people will unfortunately have to work for generations,” adds Vincetić.
Orašje is one of 44 municipalities and cities participating in the second phase of a programme designed to help flood-affected communities recover. Thanks to the initiative, 370 families will have their homes rebuilt, while another 595 households will be repaired. 555 households will receive support with trainings and mentoring for entrepreneurship and self-employment, agricultural equipment and seedlings, or vocational trainings to improve employment opportunities.
Municipalities and cities will fund the construction of new housing units. They will contribute around 2,500 EUR from their budgets, in addition to providing secure plots, basic communal infrastructure and construction permits.
“With this programme, we will be able to solve the problems of people who still have not managed to repair their homes,” says Mayor Vincetić.
From 2014 to 2016, the initiative served 610,000 people across the country. Orašje participated in the first phase, rehabilitating roads, a local hospital, five schools and 299 housing units, while support was also given to local farmers.
Across Bosnia and Herzegovina, over a million people were affected by flooding, almost 90,000 were displaced and 25 casualties were recorded. The severe and widespread rains triggered over 3,000 landslides.
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