Charge d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina Dr Renzo Daviddi, and Head of Cooperation with the EU Delegation to BiH Melvin Asin, together with Swedish Ambassador Fredrik Schiller, Croatian Ambassador Ivan Del Vecchio, Dutch Ambassador Jurriaan Kraak, Slovenian Ambassador Iztok Grmek, Deputy Head of Mission Romania Dorin Popescu, Deputy/Charge d’Affairs of the Czech Republic Klara von Kriegsheim Kadlecova, and Second Secretary at the Embassy of Sweden Karin Lissola, visited Orašje and Odžak today.
The focus of the visit were locations which suffered damages during the catastrophic floods in May this year and which were rehabilitated within the EU Floods Recovery Programme financed by the European Union.
In the Orašje Municipality, the Delegation visited two houses in the village Vidovice, which have been rehabilitated under the EU Floods Recovery Programme. So far, 25 houses have been completed under the Programme and 48 are in the process of rehabilitation in Orašje, while the total number of houses planned for rehabilitation in this municipality is 242; amounting to 1,051,727 EUR (2,057,000 KM).
Other works in the Orašje Municipality include rehabilitation of 5 schools, and recovery grants to 2 small and medium sized enterprises (SME). The projected total overall investment in the Orašje Municipality under the EU Floods Recovery Programme is 1,477,838 EUR (2,890,400 KM).
“In Orašje, the floods mostly affected housing and economic facilities, as well as the agricultural sector, with estimated damages in millions of Euros. I am glad that today we visited with our donors two families whose houses were rehabilitated within the EU Floods Recovery Programme. We saw what has been done do far, and talked about options for even more efficient assistance on the ground,” said Mayor of Orašje, Đuro Topić.
The visiting delegation also attended a ceremony for the official handover of three greenhouses, between the Association DEMIRA and the Secondary Vocational School in Orašje and the Secondary School in Odžak. The greenhouses were financed by the EU as part of the project “Support to Mine Action and Socio-Economic Development in BiH”. The greenhouses are part of the ongoing EU support which links mine action projects with creating sustainable livelihoods for the project beneficieries.
At the ceremony, Charge d’Affaires Daviddi said: “Mine action that saves lives continues to be an important priority for the EU. 61 projects worth almost 46 million EUR have been financed by the EU in this sector since 1996 and now we are funding 4 additional projects in value of 4.2 million EUR. In addition to demining, we are now additionally helping communities in mine risk areas to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and thus improve their socio-economic situation. This holistic approach is helping people on two fronts: improving their personal security through clearance of mines, as well as boosting their household incomes.”
In the Odžak Municipality, the delegation visited the “Vladimira Nazora” Primary School in Prud, which was also rehabilitated under the EU Floods Recovery Programme. The finalised works included electricity refitting, new sanitary system, flooring, joinery replacement, refurbishing of interior walls and thermo facade, as well as refurbishment of heating system in the total value of 40,076 EUR (78,383 KM), while additional 5,965 EUR (11,667 KM) was donated by the EU for furniture and other equipment.
“I would like to thank all those who helped in the realisation of this project, as the rehabilitation has enabled our children to return to their school, and to sit again on their school benches after the devastating floods of May,” said Nada Bačić, Director of “Vladimira Nazora” Primary School.
Other EU Floods Recovery Programme activities in the Odžak Municipality comprise the rehabilitation of 6 schools, 2 bridges and 1 road, rehabilitation of 273 houses, as well as enterprise recovery grant to 1 SME, in the overall total amount of 1,453,912 EUR (2,843,605 KM).
Mayor of the Odžak municipality, Hajrudin Hadžidedić said during the visit: “I am very glad that the infrastructure is also being rehabilitated within this Programme, along with houses and other facilities that were flooded, as this is very important. One of these facilities is also the school that we visited today in Prud. Where there is no infrastructure, there are no people.”
Total planned investment for the Posavina Canton (which consist of Orašje, Odžak and Domaljevac-Šamac municipalities) within the EU Floods Recovery Programme is 4,347,586 EUR (8,503,139 KM).
After the regional conference on Floods Protection hosted by the EU in Brussels on 24 November 2014, the importance of strengthening flood resilience in BiH was also emphasised throughout the visit by the EU ambassadors.
“In the Netherlands, which is no stranger to threat of floods due to its geography, the different segments of society realised already 1500 years ago that joint actions and mutual cooperation are key in protecting the country from the risk of invading waters as everyone is equally affected by this risk. Joint efforts for building up flood protection where all authorities and elements of society actively participate are needed in the broader Western Balkans region, with special emphasis on local ownership and initiatives”, said Jurriaan Kraak, Ambassador of the Netherlands to BiH.
“The measures which need to be implemented in BiH to strengthen flood protection should be resolute and commenced with no delay. These measures will also need to be sustainable to benefit future generations”, added Fredrik Schiller, Ambassador of Sweden to BiH.
The EU Floods Recovery Programme was launched to restore normal living conditions in local communities and ensure that the aid reaches the most vulnerable ones in the aftermath of floods in May. Funds are used to restore public services and infrastructure, rehabilitation of housing units for the most vulnerable people, and for social and economic recovery of local communities. The value of the overall programme is 43.52 million, out of which 42.24 million is provided by the European Union.
This assistance is a part of the funds that the European Union pledged at the donor conference in Brussels in July 2014. Activities are focused on rehabilitation of 4,000 housing units for approximately 14,000 residents, and key public services and infrastructure (including schools, medical facilities, water supply and sewer, and smaller roads and bridges) at 50 sites, as well as providing assistance to retain and generate around 2,000 jobs in flood-affected areas. Beneficiary selection is based on the Recovery Needs Assessment and a public calls, with special emphasis on the most vulnerable population categories, such as the elderly, families with children and persons with special needs.
The programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
For more information, visit the EU Floods Recovery Programme feature page