It takes a disaster such as this to bring people together, as we can witness these days. Severe flooding has united people in the Balkans. It made us realise how much we really depend on each other and how much we need our compatriots to help us and support us in these difficult times.
Despite all the hardships, sufferings, tragedy and victims we have suffered, Serbia is not alone. Neighbouring countries: Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia were the first who offered and provided assistance in dealing with this natural disaster. When such things happen, our religion, nation and the language we speak become less important. There is no more division among us. We are all one, hoping that this unity and solidarity will last longer, not just now but in the following years as well.
Here are a few examples of fraternal solidarity and assistance that should be mentioned. Big thanks to all the countries in the region for helping us and supporting us. A contingent of the Army of Montenegro has headed this morning to Serbia from its base in Danilovgrad. They were followed by buses full of volunteers, organised by the Brotherhood of Orthodox Youth of Montenegro. Atlas company has sent 100,000 gallons of water, while the President of the Group personally donated EUR 50,000. Water plant Lipovo from Kolasin has organised an additional production in order to send urgent assistance to Serbia. Some municipalities also merged and sent financial aid, manpower, technology, food and blankets. Montenegro has opened a bank account for individual payments intended for those most affected by floods that have hit Serbia.
Croatia was among the first to respond to Serbia’s appeal to help. The Red Cross of the Republic of Croatia has launched the action to raise funds for the flood-endangered population in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Financial aid is being received by online donations on websites of Croatian Red Cross. Croatia also provided two military transport helicopters with crews and personnel to help those affected by floods.
The Slovenian government sent an additional special civil protection unit to Serbia, together with 19 experts, military helicopter, eleven vehicles and two special pumps for water draining. The Macedonian government decided to send 75 special unit members as assistance to flood-hit Serbia.
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations immediately sent an Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft with 70 rescuers. The Russian rescue team also includes 20 divers with most up-to-date equipment. They took part in the rescue of citizens of Jagodina and surrounding villages, as well as in other flood-affected areas in our country. Two more planes of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations will deliver 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Serbia, including boats, equipment for water drainage and electricity supply, food and blankets.
The EU has sent to Serbia high-capacity drainage pumps and a team of experts tasked with providing assistance in the removal of consequences of the floods. Austria, Bulgaria and Germany were among the first to send assistance. The plan is to send helicopters. France has joined as well and sent 34 rescuers, ten motor boats and other equipment used in rescue operations. In addition, through its company in Serbia „Tigar Tyres“ France has donated 1.2 million dinars to help the most vulnerable, and sent 5,000 pairs of rubber boots intended for residents of the flooded areas.
Israel has decided to help by sending medicines, blankets, raincoats, rubber boots and food. Hungary granted five boats and helicopters for the rescue action and the Czech Republic granted assistance comprising a rescue team and a high-capacity drainage pump, as well as a boat and seven vehicles for various purposes. The United States donated $100,000 for the procurement of equipment and non-food items adequate for assistance to the flooded areas in Serbia. The Serbian people will never forget this!
We are and always will be inspired by good deeds and acts of kindness and respond in the same way whenever we are able to – whether it is to help a neighbour, friend, family, or a complete strange. Your little means so much to others and can change their lives.