Responding to the Balkan Floods
In mid May 2014, a low pressure system referred to locally as Cyclone Tamara caused the heaviest rainfall in more than a century across much of the Balkan region. Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia have been heavily affected by both flooding and over 3,000 landslides. Nearly 50 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.
The unprecedented flooding has also destroyed infrastructure, businesses, livelihoods, farms and crops. To compound the problem, in some places fast moving water and landslides have unearthed and shifted mines and unexploded ordnance left over from the 1990s conflict. It may also have moved minefield markings – hampering relief efforts and reversing many years of progress in mine action. Three quarters of the country’s 1,230km2 of mine contaminated land is now underwater.
The governments of both countries have appealed to the international community for help both in the immediate response and the long term recovery, which could take years.