Source: RTS | Wednesday, 28.05.2014.| 14:16
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EU provides a further EUR 65 million to Serbia and Bosnia

The European Commission has decided to set aside a further EUR 65 million for clearing the aftermath of the huge floods that hit Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The funds will be available in both countries towards the end of June. The EU has so far sent immediate emergency aid.

Of this sum, EUR 3m of humanitarian aid is intended for the most vulnerable in both countries to provide for immediate needs, especially food, health and public health measures, first aid and shelter, according to the EU`s communication as reported by Tanjug.

The priority is to ensure drinking water, basic first aid materials such as blankets, mattresses, beds and bedclothes, and equipment and materials like drying equipment to renovate damaged houses.

This will be channelled through the Red Cross and Red crescent Societies, and other partner organisations in the field.

The remaining EUR 62m is scheduled for short- and medium-term renovation and clearing the effects of the floods in the affected areas.

These funds are re-allocated from previous programmes under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). This financial help is intended amongst other things for the renovation of public infrastructure such as schools and institutions for social protection, and procurement of basic equipment for companies and farms to re-start their activities.

Besides this, the IPA 2013 programme will contain a EUR 2m call for proposals for a flood response system in line with the EU`s civil defence mechanism.

The EU has an interest in continuing to offer the medium and long-term support of IPA programmes, for which funds will be allocated for the period 2014-2020.

The exact type and value of assistance will be defined on the basis of a comprehensive needs assessment that should be completed in the coming weeks, so that the funds can be available to both countries in the course of the summer.

The European Commission collaborates with affected countries and maintains close cooperation with international financial institutions to determine the needs and identify the best instruments of financial support.

On this basis, the EU will schedule further IPA funds to support the reconstruction of infrastructure and improve flood risk management, again in a regional perspective.

This will help foresee and diminish the risks, and improve mechanisms of civil defence against natural disasters. The EU`s instrument contributing to peace and stability (the former instrument for stability) is already offering targeted needs assessment aid through expert assistance. This instrument will also ensure continued finance for solving the critical problem of mines faced by Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Besides the humanitarian aid of EUR 3m, there is also the non-material assistance provided by the EU`s 22 member states through the civil defence mechanism.

More than 600 people have been deployed in both countries bringing equipment and water, motor boats, helicopters, pumps and humanitarian assistance sets.

The Coordination Centre of the European Commission for reaction to crises is in constant contact with the responsible authorities in the affected countries to ensure that the help delivered corresponds to needs in the field.

Two EU civil defence teams are helping the coordination of assistance in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The European Commission is partly covering transport costs for aid, while governments are providing satellite images of the affected areas, according to the EU communication.

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