Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Balkans still recovering one year after catastrophic floods

International Orthodox Christian Charities: It's been a difficult year since record rainfall drenched the Balkans last spring, unleashing the worst flooding in more than 100 years and leaving a trail of destruction across Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. More than 70 people lost their lives, while hundreds of thousands of survivors had to evacuate as family homes and farms, roads and utilities were damaged or destroyed. Relentless summer and fall rains renewed flooding, which slowed recovery and threatened to keep many families from having warm and dry shelter in time for winter.

...From its offices in Serbia and Bosnia, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) responded on the heels of the disaster, ensuring the delivery of relief to vulnerable families in the region's hardest hit communities. Through the financial support of church and private donors in the US, Australia and New Zealand, and close cooperation with local partners, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Red Cross, IOCC's ongoing assistance has helped thousands of survivors like Ljubica and Mladen return to their homes and resume their lives. More than 800 families have received support from IOCC with cleanup, home repair kits filled with construction materials, or replacement stoves and refrigerators.

The raging waters not only damaged homes and businesses, but also swept away desks, books, computers and lab equipment from school classrooms. Schooling came to a standstill for the 950 students of Šamac. Through your support, IOCC has helped restore the learning environment for the community's schoolchildren.

...More than 1,400 schoolchildren from the Serbian towns of Kladovo and Obrenovac suffered similar losses in their communities. The only primary school in the village of Tekija near Kladovo was so badly damaged by waves of mud and debris that the entire student body has had to be bussed daily to a school in Kladovo. IOCC is taking action with the installation of a new roof and heating system to be completed in time for Tekija's children to return to their own school next fall...

NASA image of 2014 flooding in Bosnia and Serbia

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