Belgrade, 19 May – MapAction has deployed a skilled volunteer to Belgrade to help coordinate the response in Serbia of widespread flooding in the Balkans.
The area has been affected by sustained rainfall, which has resulted in what are thought to be the worst floods in 120 years with four months of rainfall in just one day. Several people are known to have died but the fall extent will not be clear until the flood waters start to recede.
The situation has been further exacerbated by landslides and damage to roads and infrastructure. As of 17 May, more than 6,000 people have been evacuated, but it is estimated that over 50,000 people may have been affected, and 115,000 homes have been left without electricity.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated in response to the emergency. Member states have agreed to provide rescue boats and helicopters to support the evacuation of residents and the transportation of water, medicines and food. Operational staff and high capacity pumping equipment have also been deployed.
MapAction’s volunteer will be working in partnership with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team from their coordination centre in Belgrade. The team will provide information to assess the extent of the flooding, affected population, infrastructure damage and humanitarian needs, vital to assist humanitarian providers in their response.
This is MapAction’s second emergency deployment to the Balkans, following a mission to Albania to help with flooding in 2010. The charity continues to monitor the situation in Bosnia, Croatia and other potentially affected parts of Europe, and is ready to send further assistance as required.
[Image: Serbia floods c Elvis Barukcic AFP Getty Images May 2014]