News

26 June 2015, 13:26

Loznica and Mali Zvornik get flood control dams


The handover ceremony for three newly-built dams was conducted today in Loznica and Mali Zvornik to help the local communities protect themselves against flash floods in the river of Štira in Loznica and in the Borjanska and Velika rivers in the municipality of Mali Zvornik. 

Construction of the flood control dams is a part of the project within the UN Development Programme (UNDP) supporting the efforts the government and municipalities invest to improve long-term resilience of the local communities and their protection against future flooding.

Facility construction and watercourse cleaning is implemented within the UNPD project worth 1.5 million dollars aiming to build 18 such barriers at the territory of Serbia.

Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief Marko Blagojević said that Loznica had suffered a substantial damage in the floods last year, ranking fourth in terms of the extent of the damage to residential units.

He noted that the state provided over 2 million euros for the reconstruction of damaged and destroyed residential units in Loznica, while the works conducted to reconstruct water management facilities are worth 70 million dinars.

“Serbia and Loznica are now safer than they were, but they are still far from being safe. Had we invested two million euros before the damage was done, Loznica would not have received a drop of floodwater”, said Blagojević to the journalists.

He underscored that we were now continuing the work which had been initiated in the 1970s and abandoned later on due to the lack of resources, adding that the implementation of the projects worth 70 million euros, aiming to provide protection against flooding and disaster risk management, would commence this year.

“In the last 20 years 19 such structures were build in Serbia, whereas this year only, as many as 18 of them will be constructed”, said Blagojević, stressing that this fact confirmed the state’s commitment to the strategy of providing protection while we still had time.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano said she was more than pleased that the UNDP was thus helping to prevent considerable damage due to floods.

“We managed to do all this because we had good partners. We cooperated very well with the Government institutions, primarily with the Office, Institute for the Development of Water Resources Jaroslav Černi… our motto is to do everything well and quickly”, said Vojáčková-Sollorano, adding that what was implemented at the local level must be sustainable.

Assistant to the Mayor of Loznica Ljubinko Đokić stressed that the Štira river caused extensive damage last year, flooding 35 houses.

He thanked the UNDP for the construction of the dam whose purpose is to decrease river velocity during high water levels, thus mitigating its destructing force.

Đokić also expressed gratitude to the Government of Serbia and the Office for their assistance in the reconstruction and flood relief efforts.

Mali Zvornik Better Prepared for Future Floods

As of today, Mali Zvornik has three dams, constructed at the Borjanska and Velika rivers to protect the residents of the municipality against future floods. As-built design was handed over to the Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief Marko Blagojević, which symbolically marked dam handover.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano stressed that the local administration was thus also handed over the duty to maintain the dam to protect the area against possible floods.

“For the UNDP, this was a task conducted in the spirit of partnership, since partnership is the only way to obtain such a good product in such a short period of time”, she said to the journalists.

She pointed out once again that the UNDP is building 18 dams across Serbia, mainly in the areas “with small springs which, though it is hard to imagine now, transformed themselves last year into rivers that swept everything in their path”.

“The UNDP is helping to secure local development and I also hope that raspberries will continue growing in this area”, said Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano to her hosts.

Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief Marko Blagojević thanked the UNDP for assisting Serbia in its reconstruction efforts, as well as in the second stage, prevention and improvement of capacities for protection against disasters.

“The water that is now barely reaching our ankles swept away four houses last May, damaging dozens more, flooding raspberry fields, sweeping away greenhouses and inflicting considerable damage, several times larger than the value of works to construct such facilities, which is enough to show the importance of prevention”, said Blagojević.

At the global level, he added, each dinar invested in prevention equals seven dinars spent on reconstruction and recovery, while in our country the ratio is even higher.

“It is, therefore, very important, now that we are completing the reconstruction, not to stop here, but to always remember the disaster we experienced, having this memory to guide us towards system and infrastructure strengthening and efforts to make our country at least a bit safer every day”, noted Blagojević.

He underlined that this was the priority for the Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief which is finalizing its work on the Law on Disaster Risk Management and Reconstruction.

President of the Municipality of Mali Zvornik Zoran Jevtić said that Mali Zvornik ranks among devastated municipalities and that the last year floods only worsened the situation further.

“However, we were not left alone in our trouble, but were helped by the UNDP and the Government of Serbia. A year ago, this area was impassable, but today, we are here again, working on the prevention, making sure that what happened to us does not happen again”, said Jevtić.

Milenko Kojić, a resident of Donja Trešnica, evoked the memory of the night in May last year when the Borjanska and Velika rivers “looked like the Drina”.

“Flood water swept away beech trees, it was a disaster. Water approached the house, there was a five meter deep landslide below. We ran away barefoot, leaving the house unlocked… Who would have thought that this little spring could cause such a damage, it swept everything away like the Drina”, said Kostić, noting that the residents now felt much safer.


Construction of the dams is a part of the project within the UN Development Programme (UNDP) supporting the efforts the government and municipalities invest to improve long-term resilience of the local communities and their protection against future flooding.

Facility construction and watercourse cleaning is implemented within the UNPD project worth 1.5 million dollars aiming to build 18 such barriers at the territory of Serbia.