31 December 2015, 10:31

European Union Supported over 60,000 Flood-affected citizens

European Union is the biggest donor for flood relief in Serbia, given that it has thus far made available more than EUR150 million through its Solidarity Fund and IPA instruments. EU assistance has reached over 60,000 citizens in 32 towns and municipalities through projects of construction and reconstruction of houses, reconstruction of public buildings and infrastructure, as well as support to farmers and small businesses.

EU has made possible the funding of the most urgent interventions in 2014 and 2015 through 2012 IPA instrument. Consequences of floods have now been removed in 15 elementary and high schools and one kindergarten. Thanks to construction works and furnishing of these educational institutions, more than 13,000 children, pupils and teachers now enjoy quality learning and teaching environment. In the neighbourhood of Poljane, Obrenovac, the construction of a new school is ongoing and should be completed by the end of January 2016.

EU money helped to build 161 houses and 888 households, so now more than 3,560 people live normally. Also, the construction of social housing apartment building is ongoing in Obrenovac, where 32 families will find their homes Reconstruction of 12 km of the Korenita-Krupanj road, connecting residents of these municipalities with Loznica, allowed for undisturbed transport of 1,500 passengers per day. Furthermore, two new bridges have been constructed on rivers Lopatnica and Musina reka in Kraljevo, so the residents of surrounding villages can now acces their arable land more easily. Three infiltration basins have been constructed in Trstenik, which provided adequate water supply for more than 15,000 residents.

Support for the renewal of agricultural production has so far been sent to some 26,000 farms, through provision of wheat seeds, fertilisers fruit seedlings, animal feed, greenhouses and equipment, whereas 545 micro and small enterprises were supported to restart their operation. European Union has secured additional EUR62 million out of 2014 IPA funds for the construction of the flood prevention and emergency response system through an upgrade of risk management and flood prevention systems, reconstruction of protective infrastructure and roads damaged during the flood, support in reviving business activities and additional support for the reconstruction of at least 1,300 residential buildings, and support to Government Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief. Prep activities started in autumn 2015, whereas the first works are expected to start in early 2016.

In March 2015, European Union granted Serbia EUR60.2 million out of Solidarity Fund, out of which EUR18.6 million have been allocated for urgent interventions and relief. Funding is designed to cover part of the expenses of public works and urgent interventions after floods, as well as rescue and cleaning operations in flood-affected areas. The funding may be used retroactively, for the ongoing reconstruction projects.

Remarkable results have already been achieved: compensation to public companies “Putevi Srbije“, “Železnice Srbije“, “Srbijavode“, “Beogradvode“ and National Water Directorate for the rehabilitation of road and railway infrastructure and damaged water facilities. Money has also been compensated to local self-governments of Kraljevo, Sabac, Svilajnac, Arandjelovac, Obrenovac and Valjevo which covered the expenses of hiring staff, mechanisation, transport and other vehicles, and other costs arising from flood controlling activities, urgent rehabilitation of terrain and roads and restoring basic living conditions. Finally, costs of the Government Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief, Ministry of Interior and the Republic of Serbia have also been compensated.

The construction of 76 new bridges in 35 local self-governments are in their planing stage, as well as the implementation of 47 projects for reconstruction and strengthening of road infrastructure, regulation of local water courses and improvement of water supply and sewage systems. Besides, 32 project aimed at reconstruction of public buildings are also in their preparatory stage in the area of health and education in 21 local self-governments. The municipalities of Vladimirci, Bajina Basta and Velika Plana will also receive compensation for urgent works carried out on prevention infrastructure and cleaning of flood-affected areas. ..