After massive flooding in mid-May that killed more than fifty people and displaced tens of thousands more, International Medical Corps teams were on the ground in the Balkans to deliver critical supplies, assess health needs, support repair of infrastructure, and work with local authorities and international partners on recovery efforts. Flood water levels continue to fluctuate but most have receded.
The heaviest rains in more than a century sparked floods across Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, leading to the evacuations of more than 930,000 people. More than three million people have been affected. Damages to infrastructure in Serbia are estimated at more than $2 billion. Damages in Bosnia and Herzegovina are estimated at $2.7 billion.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), International Medical Corps remains one of the primary nongovernmental organization focused on health recovery efforts. The teams’ assessment found that over half of the surveyed health facilities have sustained damage to infrastructure and essential medical equipment. The team has shared its assessment data with health authorities, as well as WHO and continues to advocate for support of these damaged facilities. International Medical Corps partnered with Luftfahart Ohne Grenzen (Wings of Help) and the Red Cross BiH and distributed over 90 tons of food to flood-affected areas. Additionally, International Medical Corps will support a web campaign to promote health and hygiene messaging as standing water can contribute to the prevalence of waterborne and communicable diseases.
In Serbia, International Medical Corps’ teams distributed seven tons of organic baby food, donated by Wings of Help via the Red Cross, to flood-affected populations. Teams continue to partner with a local organization to support households affected by the flooding, particularly those in need of essential household items such as blankets, buckets, soap and cooking items and agricultural products such seeds and animal feed. International Medical Corps in Serbia is coordinating efforts with other international organizations and local stakeholders. UNICEF will include International Medical Corps’ needs assessments of Serbia’s flood-affected areas in the health section of the joint United Nations, World Bank, and European Union’s Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report, led by the Government of Serbia.
International Medical Corps delivered 9.7 tons of food, worth over $100,000, to flooded areas in Croatia. Teams also met with local stakeholders in Croatia regarding the health facilities in need of essential equipment damaged in the floods.
International Medical Corps, which has offices in Split, Croatia, first deployed to the Balkans in 1993 in response to war and ethnic cleansing, establishing emergency medicine training, ambulance systems, mobile clinics and mental health programs. Likewise during the Kosovo conflict, the organization set up operations in Kosovo, as well as in neighboring Macedonia and Albania.