Zagreb, 30 May 2014

Floods in Croatia and the region - the situation analysis on 28 May 2014


Current situation

Heavy rainfall in Eastern Croatia from 13-15 May 2014, has caused large-scale flooding with subsequent collapse of transit routes and evacuation of local population. In three days the precipitation levels have exceeded the average for three months. The floods forced the evacuation of, according to the latest data, 17,631 people. They are currently located in 6 collective centres in the adjacent region, as well as in many private homes of people who took them in. Further 36,000 people in Croatia are currently endangered by the floods. Over 17,000 school children are currently unable to attend school. There have been 2 casualties so far.

Until now, 4,367 housing units have been flooded and we anticipate that around 30% of them will need to be demolished because they will most likely have to be deemed unsuitable for habitation. Around 50% of all crops have been destroyed, and around 21,000 cattle have been evacuated from the flooded area. The most effected cities and municipalities are: Slavonski Brod, Municipality of Oriovac, Municipality of Slavonski Šamac, Municipality of Oprisavci, Municipality of Okučani and the wider area of Županja.

In the whole affected region (Croatia, B-H and Serbia), more than 100,000 homes, 230 schools, businesses, roads and railways were washed out by the flooding.

Croatia has been able to address the immediate humanitarian relief needs in the flooded areas on its territory with its own capacities. However, in order to address the needs of the affected people and areas in the short-, medium- and long term, on 23 May 2014 the Government of Croatia has sent an appeal for international humanitarian assistance.

Response

Over 4000 officials and even a larger number of volunteers have been activated directly in activities related to rescue and protection. Furthermore, the Croatian Government has approved a programme of communal public works in order to contribute to the rehabilitation from the consequences of flooding. A minimal wage shall be paid to the people currently unemployed to join the programme.

All relevant line ministries have introduced measures for immediate relief, e.g. shelter, food and care for the displaced, books for the children, chemical (disinfection) and physical (removal of carcasses) decontamination of the area, feed for the evacuated cattle etc. In a coordinated effort, the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, with the Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Defence collected humanitarian aid from citizens and have sent in-kind assistance as well as monetary and psychosocial assistance to evacuated families.

Rapidly changing circumstances in the field, vastness of the flooded area, damage on the houses, other facilities, crops and cattle, threat of dislocated landmines and a large number of long-term displaced persons from Croatia, as well as from Bosnia and Hercegovina, along with continually arriving offers of assistance from our friends in the international community, prompted Croatia to issue a humanitarian appeal and ask for international assistance.

On 23 May 2014 Croatia has issued an international humanitarian appeal in order to effectively meet the needs of the affected population and regions. The international community has been informed about the concrete needs, most of which can in best way be covered by direct financial assistance. In general, we have been able to address the immediate humanitarian relief needs in Croatia for food, shelter and medical care, as well as provide assistance to the neighbouring countries. However, we anticipate that in the medium- and long-term there will be a gap between the immediate relief and subsequent rehabilitation, reconstruction and development.

Currently, the water level has started to recede. All available forces for protection and rescue activities continue to work on strengthening the existing and in building new dikes, sharing food and water for vulnerable populations, rescuing survivors and disposing of animal carcasses. The situation remains complex due to landslides and road damages. State and local authorities are engaged in on-going evacuation efforts.

Thorough analysis of the current situation in affected areas has already begun as well as a breakdown of necessary activities and tasks for the forthcoming period. Even though water levels have begun to recede there is a fear for new disasters since the area is contaminated with landmines and other non-exploded remnants of war. Due to the flooding the landmines may have been dislocated outside the previously marked locations, which make the subsequent assessment of the damage, clearing and the reconstruction of the flooded areas even more delicate and dangerous. The cleaning of landmines in two municipalities of Gunja and Vrbanja is estimated at the cost of 4 million euros. In order to find a regional solution for this sensitive issue Croatia is communicating with experts from Bosnia and Hercegovina and Serbia.

Furthermore, we are facing the rising threat of mosquitos in the flooded areas in all three countries. This problem will be resolved regionally with the assistance of the EU. Overall sanitary decontamination of the area is also a precondition for further steps. Another pressing issue is to provide longer-term shelter in form of air-conditioned containers for the displaced people until their homes will be dried and reconstructed.

CONCRETE NEEDS

Bearing in mind a constant change of circumstances affecting the needs-assessment, the possibility of more effective utilisation of capacities otherwise needed for coordination, transport, storage and dissemination of in-kind assistance, and the potential mobilisation of our own resources (e.g. in the field of demining), in order to adequately, effectively and sustainably respond to the catastrophe, financial assistance would be the preferred alternative of support, without prejudice to other kinds of assistance offered.

Croatian assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia

Croatia extended aid to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia comprising of financial means, goods and manpower. The Croatian Government has provided financial assistance in the amount of 200,000 euros, to the Bosnian and Serbian Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. We are accommodating displaced people from Bosnia and Hercegovina (currently about 500) which are crossing the border and looking for refuge in Eastern Croatia.

To Bosnia and Hercegovina we sent 2 helicopters, 9 motor boats, 15 vehicles, civil protection team, fire-fighters, divers and policemen totalling 52 people. They have evacuated and saved more than 1,000 people. 90,000 sand bags have been delivered.

To the most endangered municipalities in Serbia, we sent 4 divers and 2 policemen. After having finished the operations in Eastern Croatia, we pledged to send 2 motorboats, 5 vehicles, one civil protection unit and one firefighting team, in total 15 personnel. A water purification system has been offered.

Financial donations to citizens of the flood-hit areas of Croatia can be made in two different ways:

http://www.mvep.hr/en/info-servis/press-releases/,21638.html