The EU Floods Recovery Programme, which has assisted more than 610,000 people in the flood-affected communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, saw its final conference on 22 February in Sarajevo.
This Programme represents the first part of the EU pledges at the Donor conference in Brussels in July 2014 directed at the immediate recovery in BiH. It was launched in August 2014 to restore normal living conditions in the local communities and ensure that the assistance reaches the most vulnerable ones in the floods aftermath, as identified by the Recovery Needs Assessment.
“We have helped rehabilitate some 4,400 houses and 120 public facilities, including schools and hospitals; but also some enterprises have benefited and as a result we have been able to save and generate 5,600 jobs in the country,’’ said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH. Ambassador Wigemark expressed satisfaction that the EU was able to help the people at the local level in a direct and concrete way during the emergency circumstances, adding that in the future the EU intends to help BiH in prevention of natural disasters.
Sezin Sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasised the importance of the prompt, coordinated and quality response in the floods aftermath in May 2014. “It is a great honour to have been able to react quickly and to help over 610,000 people. Also, the school year started without any or with little delay and within just 100 days we have helped to rebuild homes for over 1,000 of the most vulnerable families,” said Sinanoglu.
Conference was attended by the representatives of all levels of BiH authorities and the end beneficiaries of the Programme. The beneficiaries provided their personal testimonials to showcase how the assistance they received from the European Union has helped them to recover from the effects of the May 2014 floods.
Amir Bradarić from Maglaj and his family have received funds for household reconstruction as well as for their business. “After becoming unemployed I have expanded my greenhouse production, but the floods in May 2014 destroyed everything. Only months later, through the EU Floods Recovery Programme, my house was rebuilt and moreover, by getting the new greenhouse through the same programme, my family had an opportunity for a fresh start,’’ Bradarić explained.
“The Health Care Centre Šamac provides services for around 25.000 citizens and all its facilities were destroyed in May 2014,” said Dragan Ilinčić, the Director of Health Care Centre. “Thanks to the EU Floods Recovery Programme in 2015 over 80.000 citizens received medical treatment in new and improved facilities“.
The Programme rehabilitated 156 schools and 12 kindergartens. Marina Ovuka, Principal of Primary School “Sveti Sava” Novi Grad recognised the fast pace of the EU Floods Recovery Programme. “We have started the new school year as soon as September 2014 even though almost no one believed it could be done in such a short period of time,’’ Ovuka said.
The second part of the EU assistance in the amount of 41 million euros will soon be available to help BiH improve its resilience to natural disasters, provide additional assistance to housing rehabilitation, SMEs and local economic development in flood affected areas, and support local NGOs with social development recovery assistance.
The value of the overall Programme was 43.52 million euros, out of which 42.24 million euros was provided by the EU. It was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Watch here the documentary film “EU Floods Recovery Programme”