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news 24 Jul 14

Serbia to Start Compensating Flood Victims

The authorities are due to start paying compensation to the victims of the May floods following the adoption of a new law this week.

BIRN, Beta

Marko Blagojevic, head of Serbia's Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief, said that as of next week, flood victims whose houses were damaged or destroyed in the deluge will start to receive compensation from the government.

"They should get the money for renovation work, or to finance the reconstruction, of their homes," Blagojevic said.

A new Law on Removal of Flood Consequences, which will be in force for 12 months, came into force on Tuesday.

Adoption of the law was the main precondition for the country to start distributing funds to those affected by the disaster in May.

The law says the post-flood relief will be carried out under a government programme, which specifies the measures and criteria for reconstruction.

The funds to cover the damage is coming from the national budget, the budget of the province of Vojvodina, from local government, from donations and loans, from the sale of financial property, EU financial aid and from public companies.

A total of 126 municipalities have reported flood damage, and the law allows those who did not make a claim to do so within the next eight days.

Some potential recipients of government said said they doubted it would be distributed smoothly, fairly, or on time.

Katarina Pavlovic, a student from Obrenovac who was left homeless by the floods, said she will believe it only when she sees the money in her family's bank account.

"I do not see how they can do it in a one week as they do not even have our bank account, or a list of people they are due to pay to," she said. "But let's see," she added.

Obrenovac, a small town south of Belgrade, suffered the most from the floods.

A damage assessment report that the government adopted on July 7 put the total cost of repairing the damage at about €1.5 billion.

This includes the damage done to homes, infrastructure, agriculture and to educational and other facilities.

Authorities say 485 houses were completely destroyed by the deluge while 12,000 hectares of land will not be usable for agricultural production next season.

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In Pictures


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