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EU assistance underway for flood victims in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina

EU assistance underway for flood victims in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina
17/05/2014  - 

The European Union is providing coordinated assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism which has been activated upon the request of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina due to severe flooding in both countries.

Serbia's urgent request for high capacity water pumps and operational teams has been channelled through the European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) and was answered positively within hours by Bulgaria, Germany, Slovenia and Austria. Thirty-six hours after the Serbian request was made the number of Member States offering assistance has reached ten, with the Czech Republic, France, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joining the relief efforts. Arrangements are currently underway for the deployment of rescue boats, high capacity pumps and operational teams in Serbia. Most of the aid will have arrived by tomorrow.

So far, Slovenia, Austria, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Belgium and Germany have responded through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to the request of Bosnia and Herzegovina, offering helicopters and motor boats to support the evacuation of residents and transportation of water, medicines and food. The assistance is underway and transportation costs are being co-financed by the European Commission.

EU civil protection experts have been deployed to both countries to liaise with national authorities and facilitate the delivery of European assistance.

"In less than a day and a half fourteen of our Member States - half the European Union - have responded to calls for assistance from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzogovina, mobilising helicopters, boats, pumping modules and expert teams," said said Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

"This is an admirable display of European solidarity and we will keep supporting our neighbours for as long as they need our help."

The ERCC is in constant contact with both affected countries and with participating states in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, matching the incoming offers for assistance with needs on the ground.