Zagreb, Croatia – Tuesday, May 20, 2014: Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Serbia, as well as parts of Croatia, have been hit by the worst floods in 120 years after more than 3 months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just a few days last week. This is the worst weather catastrophe to hit the region in over a century. The numbers are still changing hourly, but as of now, over a million people have been displaced, forced to flee their homes with little or no belongings, grasping to save their bare lives, and their children. On top of that, many of these people are farmers who live off of the land and have just lost their entire livelihoods in just a few days.
The public response has been overwhelming and immediate in all three countries. Everybody is collecting necessities for the displaced. People are taking days off work, loading their cars and heading to help on the ground. Rescue teams are still fighting the water, and saving people from houses going under, many of those people reluctant to leave their only home. The Red Cross, as well as countless other organizations, companies, and individuals are working around the clock to provide shelter and food for the incoming displaced. My own email and Facebook are popping up with new initiatives to help every 5 minutes as more and more people join what is turning into the greatest humanitarian effort this region has seen since the Yugoslavian civil war 20 years ago. But the worst is yet to come – once all these people are saved and water recedes, over 100.000 houses will need to rebuild. And even that will only be the beginning for the farmers who have to start from scratch.
Those wishing to help out from afar can do so most easily by donating to one of the organizations working on the ground – most notably the Red Cross in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Croatia. These organizations in turn use the money to provide people with everything from basic necessities and shelter to participating in the huge costs of rebuilding houses and communities in the entire region.
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Written by: Ariel Salvaro