Switzerland sends relief aid to Serbia and to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bern, Press release, 23.05.2014

In response to the severe flooding in various regions of the Western Balkans, Switzerland is sending an initial delivery of relief aid comprising instruments for treating and distributing drinking water to the disaster zone. In addition, the teams of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA), which have been in Serbia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of this week, will be reinforced with additional personnel.

n view of the severe flooding in the Western Balkans, the mission management of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Department has decided to send materials and equipment for treating and distributing drinking water as part of a first delivery of relief aid to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Specifically, deliveries comprising two water-distribution modules and one well-purification set have been sent today to both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. One water-distribution module can produce enough drinking water for at least 10,000 people. The well-purification sets are deployed to disinfect contaminated water sources. The materials and equipment will be loaded onto lorries today and transported overland to the disaster zones. The lorries will take about two days to reach their destination.

In addition to the deliveries of materials and equipment, Swiss Humanitarian Aid will also reinforce the two teams of specialists that were deployed to Serbia and to Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday to assess the situation and the possible support that Switzerland could provide in the areas of water and pollutant management. For this reason, on Sunday, additional SHA specialists will travel to the Balkans. The Humanitarian Aid mission management is currently considering whether it will be necessary for additional mobile laboratories to be sent with the specialists to Bosnia for bacteriological testing.

Immediately after the flood disaster hit the region, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), of which Swiss Humanitarian Aid is a part, set CHF 500,000 aside as emergency support for the affected communities in the Western Balkans. The funds will also be used to support the activities of Caritas in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian Red Cross. Furthermore, Switzerland will support Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the reconstruction phase within the framework of its current engagement in the region.

As further support for the efforts to overcome the devastating flooding, a transport helicopter of the Swiss Armed Forces has been deployed in the disaster zone.

Further information:

Switzerland’s commitment
Western Balkans

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs