In mid-May, roughly a third of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was submerged for several days. Extensive areas of Serbia, running from the north-west of the country to the south, were also under water. At the time, Switzerland provided emergency assistance, sending two rapid-response teams of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, deploying helicopters and providing assistance through local aid organisations, for a total value of CHF 0.8 million.
Switzerland has been actively involved in BiH and Serbia since the nineties, within the framework of transition assistance. Ongoing cooperation programmes in BiH have been particularly affected by the flood damage, and less so in Serbia.
In the circumstances, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will in the short term divert funding from reconstruction projects falling under cooperation with Eastern Europe. This measure is aiming, for example, to support programmes for local communities or to adapt development of urban infrastructure to actual needs. Additional disaster risk reduction measures are also to be included in other projects currently in the pipeline. Within the framework of the migration partnership between Switzerland and Serbia, the Federal Office for Migration is expanding an ongoing programme to improve living conditions for the Roma population.
The flooding cost the lives of 60 people and robbed tens of thousands of their livelihood. In BiH, private homes, public infrastructure and private businesses were hit especially hard by the damage. In Serbia, the flooding particularly affected the energy sector, other public infrastructure, private homes and agriculture.
The cost of the flooding in terms of damage and losses incurred in BiH and Serbia is estimated at roughly EUR 2 billion and EUR 1.5 billion respectively.
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