As the waters recede, much work still to be done in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Radenko Gojkovic Doboj pictured in front of his house. Photo: UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina

Heavy rainfall in May 2014 flooded entire neighbourhoods and communities in Doboj, a town of 75,000 in north Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even today, many residents are still suffering.

“The water destroyed my field that I planted with corn, wheat, and barley," says Radenko Gojkovic, a local farmer. The flooding not only destroyed his crops, but also his machinery, leaving him wondering how he will provide for his family of four. "There is nothing left,” he says.

Highlights

  • Flooding affected almost a quarter of the country's entire population, and destroyed more than 43,000 homes.
  • In the most affected areas, 75 percent, or 35,000 hectares, of land used for crops has been washed away by the flooding.
  • So far, UNDP has delivered US$ 1.1 million worth of assistance, as well as US$ 1.2 million for debris cleaning and demining.
  • Funding comes from the EU and USAID, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland.

The full extent of the damage has only recently emerged, after waters completely receded to reveal the scale of destruction. Water that had submerged whole sections of the community has now left behind piles of rubble where railway tracks, schools and shops once stood. Hundreds of people in Doboj have lost jobs, crops and livestock.

Estimates are that as much as 75 percent, or 35,000 hectares, of land used for crops in the region has been washed away by the flooding. And Doboj is just one out of dozens of places flooded . Across the country, the cost of damage could be as high as US$ 1.73 billion, with more than 43,000 homes damaged or destroyed and close to 1 million people affected.

But as towns like Doboj come to terms with the destruction caused by the flooding, UNDP is taking a lead role in the recovery. Doboj, along with more than 80 municipalities also suffering from the impact of the disaster, look to benefit from a flood response programme, coordinated by UNDP that aims to re-establish normal living conditions in the most affected communities. So far, UNDP has delivered US$ 1.1 million worth of assistance to recover industrial and small-scale farming, as well as US$ 1.2 million for debris cleaning and demining, including mine surveying and launch of the emergency employment programme.

UNDP has already given work to more than 600 affected people to clean and repair damaged or destroyed communities, and remove debris, both in Doboj, and in other hard-hit municipalities, such as Bijeljina, Samac, Zepce, Maglaj, Odzak and Orasje. Part of this process includes clearing mines and providing short-term support to farmers by delivering thousands of tonnes of animal feed, corn, seeds and fertilizers. UNDP is also providing generators to counter power cuts, hygiene kits, dehumidifiers, mud pumps, latrines and water purification units. In the critical areas of municipalities of Zepce, Bosanski Samac, Doboj and Maglaj, construction companies are focusing on restoring access roads.

"I am grateful for everything because these people have suffered tremendously, and this is really nice assistance," says Sveto Manojlović, one of the farmers receiving assistance. "It means a world to us; it is a precondition for survival."

“Six hundred people were engaged in public works through the local authorities in cooperation with employment bureaus in the municipalities most affected by floods,” says Edis Arifagic, programme manager of the UNDP Response to Floods Programme. “Now the focus is on the next 60 days, where we will try to mitigate the effects of the floods and landslides and respond to the needs of the affected communities.”

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