Somerset Flood Relief Supplies Sent To Balkans

Relief supplies used during flooding on the Somerset Levels will be sent to the Balkans as the region battles its worst flooding in more than half a century.

Sandbags which protected homes on the Levels earlier this year will be airlifted to Serbia as residents fight to protect their homes and vital infrastructure.

The relief effort is being coordinated by the international relief organisation Khalsa Aid, with support from the Somerset-based Flooding on the Levels Action Group (FLAG).

Organiser Ravi Singh, from Khalsa Aid, said he hoped the supplies will save many lives and homes.

“We have a lot of sandbags, and there’s no better cause now than to donate those sandbags to sure up flood defences in Serbia, especially as they’re expecting more floods,” he said.

“Those sandbags will save a lot of homes and lives, hopefully.”

The Serbian Embassy in London is handling the delivery of the sandbags.

Mr Singh and a representative from FLAG will then travel to the region to provide on-ground support, including food, clean water and hygiene packs.

Khalsa Aid, which is based in the UK, also provided relief efforts to residents hit by the Somerset floods.

Mr Singh said it was important that communities now work together across international borders during difficult times.

“The Balkans area suffered a lot during the civil war and the wars that followed. We’ve got mines floating around in the water probably, hundreds of thousands of mines, which is very sad,” he said.

“So I think it’s going to be a very, very long recovery.”

At least 44 people have been killed in the disaster across Bosnia and Serbia, with the death toll expected to rise.

Around 3,000 landslides have been reported across the region blocking roads and damaging homes.

Some 10,000 people have been evacuated from the worst-affected areas of northern Bosnia.

Many people living near flooded rivers in the Balkans have highlighted concerns about the lack of dredging on some waterways, just as locals did during the floods in Somerset.

The government in Bosnia has revealed that a quarter of the population – around a million people – now have no access to clean water.

In some towns and villages across Serbia, new evacuation orders have been issued over the past 24 hours as the water levels continue to surge.

The Serbian Prime Minister,Aleksandar Vucic, said: “We cannot seriously and responsibly estimate and make a real assessment on the damage, but I can say it is hundreds of millions (of euros). Some of people would say billions.”

In Bosnia, Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija called the flood damage “immense” and compared it to the carnage during the country’s 1992-95 war.

The floods have destroyed about 100,000 houses and 230 schools and hospitals, and left a million Bosnians without drinking water, he added.

20 May 2014 | 5:04 am – Source:

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