Major infrastructural interventions have begun to improve resilience to floods in the Polog region with the help of the Swiss government

April 1, 2022

Bogovinje, April 1, 2022
– With the cleaning and rehabilitation of the riverbed of the Bogovinjska River in the municipality of Bogovinje began the major infrastructure measures for control and resistance to floods in the Polog region in order to reduce the consequences of future disasters. This activity is part of the Program for improving the resilience to floods in the Polog region, funded by the Swiss government and envisages a transformational change of the flood protection system through the development of an integrated and sophisticated approach in dealing with floods and other types of hazard in the Polog region. 

Together with improving the preparedness and early warning system, within the project for the first time in the country a network of nine municipalities has been created, including Tetovo, Gostivar, Tearce, Bogovinje, Vrapcishte, Zhelino, Jegunovce, Mavrovo-Rostushe and Brvenica working together to develop plans for flood protection, inter-municipal coordination and infrastructure improvement in order to improve safety, protection of lives and property in case of future floods.

"North Macedonia, like Switzerland, is a disaster-prone country that is particularly vulnerable to the risk of floods.  The Polog region is the most exposed region in the country, which has faced over the years several episodes of torrential, which in 2015 caused death, destroyed houses and public infrastructures, and damaged agriculture fields" said Swiss Ambassador, Véronique Hulmann. "This tragic event revealed major weaknesses of the flood management system, the inefficient institutional and inter-agency coordination, outdated policies and legislation and the weak early warning system. To improve these conditions, in 2017 we started this project in order to develop an integrated system for flood risks and other hazards management", added Hulmann.

"We cannot prevent the floods from coming, but we can prepare as best as we can to minimize the damage. With the help of donors, the Ministry of Environment and the Government are making every effort to help municipalities strengthen their flood protection capacities. Next week, the construction works for implementation of measures for structural and bioengineering protection from floods in the village of Shipkovica in the municipality of Tetovo will begin, for which the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning provides co-financing of 49% of the total amount. ", said the Minister of Environment and Physical Planning, Naser Nuredini.

"It is with pleasure to see that the construction works for the rehabilitation of the 1,2-kilometer-long section of the riverbed of Bogovinjska Rives have started. This complex operation is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will ultimately improve the overall community resilience to floods and bring sustainable and inclusive growth for the inhabitants of Bogovinje. Together with donors and partners we are working on an integrated approach to improve the resilience of the Polog region to floods and other hazards, we are assisting in the preparation of plans and we are working on infrastructure projects in the nine municipalities that have suffered serious damage from the floods of the past years”, said Armen Grigoryan, Permanent Representative of the United Nations Development Program.

"This is an important day for the municipality of Bogovinje. Rehabilitation of the river that passes through the center of the municipality will bring greater security, protection of lives and property in case of floods for the residents, but also normal daily functioning such as going to work, school, doctor or performing agricultural activities," said the mayor of the Municipality of Bogovinje, Besnik Emshiu.

The purpose of the Program worth 12 million Swiss francs, funded by the Swiss Government, and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, is the introduction of a system for integrated management of floods and other risks (landslides, rockslides, torrents) in accordance with modern world experiences.