Following massive flooding that has killed more than 50 people and displaced tens of thousands more, International Medical Corps teams are on the ground in the Balkans assessing humanitarian needs and coordinating with local partners. The heaviest rains in more than a century sparked floods across Bosnia and Serbia, leading to the evacuations of more than 930,000 people. Up to two million people could potentially be affected.
Rainfall also caused more than 4,000 landslides in Bosnia and Herzegovina, prompting a landmine warning as 120,000 unexploded mines remain and could be unearthed by the waters. Obrenovac town in Serbia, about 20 miles southwest of Belgrade, is among the hardest hit, with the entire town being evacuated amid warnings of more flooding.
Authorities fear additional flooding in many areas, as heavy rains continue and rivers swell.
International Medical Corps’ Emergency Response Teams in the region include experts in logistics as well as water, sanitation and hygiene. Its partners in the region are also mobilizing large shipments of food and other supplies which will be distributed in the coming days.
Major needs among the displaced include: food, baby food, diapers, clothing, water, medications, tents, generators, and water purification sets. Health authorities in Bosnia and Serbia have also warned of possible outbreak of infectious diseases such as enterocolitis, typhoid and hepatitis as the temperatures have risen.
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.