29 May 2014
After ten days of field work, the UN Team of Experts that came to the country upon a request of the Serbian Government is finalizing the assessment of the impacts of the most serious natural disasters that struck Serbia in the last 120 years.
The expert report will be handed over to the government of Serbia and will be an important element in the preparations for a Donor Conference, which the French government will be hosting in Paris to coordinate the response of the International Community to the recent floods in the Balkans.
Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, the Prime Minister of Serbia, extended his gratitude to the UN Secretary-General for the "invaluable assistance of the UN Country Team in Serbia" in a speech to the UN Economic and Social Council, read by the Permanent Representative of Serbia in New York yesterday: "Preparations are under way for a pledging conference in which we trust the UN will have a leading role".
"The United Nations is looking forward to working with the Government of Serbia in preparation of the Donor Conference," says Ms. Irena Vojackova-Sollorano, the UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia.
The UN Team of Experts (UNDAC team*), which was deployed for the first time of history of Serbia, arrived in the country within 36 hours' time, which is a standard procedure when a member country is struck by a large natural disaster and needs urgent assistance.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia joined the expert team in their last visit yesterday to the areas hit by floods and landslides in Bajina Basta.
„Being in the field assessments with the UN team of experts, I was able to see the magnitude of the damages caused by devastating floods," says Ms. Vojáčková-Sollorano. "The country is facing great challenges and a period of total recovery of the flooded will not be an easy one. However, it is important that the Government and citizens know that they are not left alone. Beside the humanitarian aid and global expertise we deployed, the United Nations country team will continue to cooperate with the EU and World Bank in supporting authorities in their recovery efforts as a response to floods, whereas we will continue to coordinate international assistance.
The team has been working closely, on a daily basis, with the Sector for Emergency Management of the Ministry of the Interior and the European Union Civil Protection Team. In the forthcoming period the team is going to prepare the Final Report on the assessment on damages, which will help the Serbian Government to define the priorities of recovery of the country.
The UN team operating in Serbia consists of experts with long-term experience in the field of assessing the impacts of natural disasters occurring in all parts of the world. Their task is, after providing a comprehensive assessment of impacts, to define the priorities of the recovery, remediation of the consequences of floods, environmental protection, restoration of roads and future risk reduction. The Team is supporting the Government to make an assessment of the post-disaster situation, which should help it formulate future assistance requests in a better manner.