Heavy rainfalls have caused floods and landslides in northeast Bosnia and Herzegovina in late June 2020, affecting as many as 15,000 people. This caused rivers and creeks to swell and flood houses and roads, forcing many to evacuate their homes. Many families have also lost their orchards and agricultural fields, which are often their main source of income. The floods have also brought damage to road infrastructure and water supply lines. This has added to the acute challenges the country is already facing amidst the coronavirus pandemic
Therefore the European Union has provided €65,000 in humanitarian funding to assist the most vulnerable. This EU funding supports the Red Cross in delivering urgently needed relief to the vulnerable people affected by the floods in 15 municipalities and cities in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska in the vicinity of Tuzla. A total of 1,000 most vulnerable people affected by flash floods, such as the elderly, people with disabilities and single parent households, will receive cash assistance to cover their urgent needs for living. Hygiene promotion activities will reach up to 15,000 people with information to stay safe from water contamination and infectious diseases. New equipment will help the Red Cross to prepare for and respond to future floods. The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The European Union is the largest donor of the flood recovery efforts in BiH with around €84 million allocated in support to local communities that suffered severe damages in the 2014 floods. The funds are used to provide direct support to citizens through construction/reconstruction of housing units and ensuring stable and sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable families. A significant part of these funds was also used to increase capacities of BiH in terms of prevention and protection for integrated floods risk management.
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by disasters and man-made crises.
Through the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the European Union provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
The European Union is signatory to a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to “small-scale” disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The delegation agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the latter to replenish the DREF for agreed operations (that fit within its humanitarian mandate) up to a total of €3 million.