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news 30 Oct 14

Hundreds Still Homeless After Bosnia Floods

Around 250 of the around 2,000 families that were rendered homeless by the May floods in Bosnia are still without a roof over their heads today, experts estimate.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Around 700 victims of the floods that hit Bosnia and Herzegovina in May remain homeless, according to EU and UNDP experts working on the reconstruction process.

Bosnia's worst natural disaster in known history cost 20 lives and caused material damage worth around 2 billion euro.

According to official data, 89,981 people were displaced in the floods in total. As a consequence of floods and landslides, 1,943 homes completely fell down while 41,306 were damaged. Over 43,000 families were hit by the floods and needed help to some degree.

Many homes have since been reconstructed entirely, or the reconstruction is undergoing, through a combination of foreign and domestic aid money.

At an international conference in July in Brussels, donors offered more than 800 million euro in aid. Most of the cash was not given to the country's authorities but was implemented directly by the donors, owing to corruption concerns.

Andy McGuffie, of the EU delegation to Bosnia, this week said about 12 million euro had been committed or contracted for rehabilitation work under the EU Floods Recovery Programme.

“Of this amount, works worth approximately 9.5 million euro have been completed,” he added.

The EU and UNDP estimate that around 250 families, or around 700 people, remain homeless, mostly in the towns of Doboj, Zenica, Tuzla, Kalesija, Zivinice and Brcko, which were worst hit by the landslides that followed the heavy rain and flooding.

Bosnia's Ministry of Human Rights told Balkan Insight that the country's two entity governments were also provided helping citizens hit by the floods.

According to the ministry, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzgovina - the larger of the two entities - had helped rehouse around 1,337 people, while Republika Srpska had distributed 19,109 payment cards from its Reconstruction Fund worth up to 5,000 KM [2,500 euro] each, depending on the evaluated damage.

The government of Brcko District had meanwhile assured help for 1,917 people, the ministry said.

Although the ministry is in overall charge of coordination of aid to people displaced by the floods, it said exact figures on how many remain homless were hard to estimate.

“Many people have returned to their damaged homes and await reconstruction,” it said. Around 2,000 homes, which were completely demolished, remain unsolved," it added.


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