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Reconstruction aid for the victims of the floods in Western Serbia

One year after the floods in the Balkans

Story by Swiss Solidarity August 11th, 2015

FLOODING IN THE BALKANS

In May 2014, devastating floods ravaged several Balkan states. Thousands of people lost all they had and many buildings were damaged.

Given the magnitude of the disaster, Swiss Solidarity launched an appeal for donations and raised 4.9 million SFr. The money was used to fund emergency assistance in Bosnia and Herzevogina and in Serbia, and contributed to reconstruction efforts. The funds were fully allocated to projects, which were carried out by five partner organisations and one non-accredited NPO*.

HEKS IN SERBIA

In Serbia, HEKS, in conjunction with a partner organisation, supports nearly 900 residents of four rural municipalities in their efforts to repair and rebuild 300 substantially damaged residential buildings. The assistance is aimed primarily at communities of Roma who often live close to riverbanks and are therefore particularly affected by floods.

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As disaster struck, families had to save their homes and flee with what they could of their furniture and equipment. The assistance they received helped them get through the winter, enabling them to purchase firewood and carry out minor repairs.

When living conditions are too precarious and incomes too low, assistance with reconstruction helps families build their own homes themselves. Architects help families by providing advice and guidance on using materials.

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Women living alone with their children are particularly vulnerable. The family below, for example, needed to completely rebuild their bathroom, which was destroyed during the floods.

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Thanks to donations from the people of Switzerland, these families can live in their homes again. Every donation plays a role, such as allowing someone to sleep in their bed again and have a closet to hang their clothes in.

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The people who benefit from projects supported by Swiss Solidarity are especially grateful for the assistance delivered by HEKS and their local partner.

Photos by Patrick Rohr: http://patrickrohr.com/