in Europe

Floods hit the most vulnerable communities


May 26, 2014, Belgrade, Serbia:The Center of Youth Integraion in Serbia (CIM) has been providing emergency assistance to many families – the most vulnerable- after the devastating floods that hit communities in and near Belgrade. The events of the last two weeks have been catastrophic for many families. Those living in improvised housing made from salvaged materials – shacks known as Baraka– in informal settlements without sewerage and clean water have been especially affected.
Although most informal settlements are safely above the waterline of the flooded rivers, settlements across Belgrade were hit by flash floods up to a meter deep that have left homes flooded with effluent, mud and rubbish.
Many barake are now uninhabitable or contaminated with sewage. Many families have lost what modest belongings they had. Many of the effected people have nowhere to go and have remained in the settlements, in the face atrocious conditions and growing health risks.
CIM has been working in the settlements throughout the floods and continues to provide help to the worst affected families. They have distributed food, clothes, blankets and emergency hygiene and medical supplies to 180 families (including over 300 children) in the
10 worst effected settlements.
Over 500 members of the public and companies have donated food, clothes and other supplies for us to distribute. It has been quite overwhelming. 63 volunteers and staff have worked around the clock to coordinate and distribute help.
CIM has also joined the “Roditelj”-UNICEF initiative to collect toys and school supplies for children displaced by the floods and have so far distributed toys and supplies to 320 children at the Sajam, Pionir, Arena, and DMB Rakovica temporary shelters.
During the first days of the floods (15th to 17th May) 22 families, whose homes were destroyed, asked for emergency help from CIM. Sixty people relocated to emergency accommodation provided by the Municipality of New Belgrade at the Community Centre “Stari
Aerodrom”, where CIM volunteers and staff were alone in providing support until Friday 23rd.
Twenty nine people returned to settlements during the course of last week. On Friday 23rd, the 31 remaining parents and children were moved by the authorities to the Temporary Shelter in Dobanovci and then, during the same day, to the JP Skloniste facility in New Belgrade, despite there being no support available there. CIM reported the handling of this situation to the Ombudsman due to basic violations of human rights during the relocation of these families. We continue to visit the families daily and provide support.