Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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Distribution of EU-funded aid in Serbia during 2014 floods. ©European Union/ECHO

What are the needs?

Serbia has recently been confronted with a massive influx of refugees and migrants in transit from Greece to Hungary or Croatia. Displaced persons have arrived particularly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Humanitarian aid and in-kind assistance are needed to support humanitarian organisations and local authorities coping with the displacement crisis.

How are we helping?

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) has funded emergency humanitarian interventions in the Western Balkans in favour of vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

EU humanitarian funding in the Western Balkans assists refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in need according to vulnerability criteria and contributes to the provision of emergency assistance (food, water, hygiene, non-food items, health, basic protection, and winterisation) in places where a high number of refugees is concentrated, including borders and registration points.

In Serbia, part of the funding is channelled to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for the provision of food and hygiene kits, and tracing services for separated families. This work supports some 67 500 asylum seekers, including 4 500 children living in reception centres across the country.

EU funding is provided in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

To help cope with the refugee influx, in September 2015, Serbia received in-kind assistance from other European countries, in the form of vehicles, fuel, hygiene items, beds, mattresses and food, through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

Floods in 2014

In May 2014, devastating floods hit the Balkans. Many EU Member States offered in-kind assistance such as boats, helicopters, pumps and hygiene kits to Serbia and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and more than 800 relief workers were deployed to assist the emergency response.

Serbia has joined the EU Civil Protection Mechanism as a participating country in 2015.

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