EU Floods Recovery Programme

During May 2014, heavy rains fell over Bosnia and Herzegovina, causing massive flooding in northern, eastern and central parts of the country bordering with Croatia and Serbia. The floods were the worst in 120 years and have brought enormous destruction in a country that is still recovering from consequences of the 1992-95 war and where significant groups of population suffer from chronic poverty and unemployment. The natural disaster affected a quarter of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina and approximately one million people, which is approximately 27% of the country’s population of 3.8 million. Nearly 50% of local governments were hit by the floods, among them 46 suffered severe damage and destruction, where urban, industrial and rural areas were completely flooded with water, cut off and without electricity, water or communications for days. Consequently, houses, infrastructure, schools, hospitals, private facilities, farms and crops were wiped out, causing deterioration of public services, local economy and agriculture activities.

About the project

 

On 15 August 2014 the European Union launched the EU Floods Recovery Programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina worth 43.52 million EUR, out of which the EU’s contribution is 42.24 million EUR, while UNDP participates with 1.28 million EUR.

The Programme consists of different components all of which aim to assist with the normalization of peoples' lives in flood-affected areas and communities in 24 most-affected municipalities. The activities focus on the immediate restoration of vital public sector infrastructure and reinstatement of key public services, the emergency reconstruction of private dwellings for the most vulnerable and marginalized people, the revitalization of local economy and agriculture production and rehabilitation of communal infrastructure in selected municipalities.    

The EU Flood Recovery Programme is aligned with the Recovery Needs Assessment, which was conducted by domestic authorities with assistance provided by the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank.

The Programme is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) until February 2016.

The  Programme targets the rehabilitation of a total of 4,922 objects, out of which:

4,640  are private dwellings for the most vulnerable and marginalized people affected by the floods;

  • 119 are schools and kindergartens;
  • 3 are municipal administration buildings;
  • 6 are healthcare care centers;
  • 5 are social welfare centers;
  • 114 are communal roads and bridges;
  • 31 are water and sanitation facilities; and
  • 4 are disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures.

In addition, the EU is financing the retention and generation of up to 5.500 jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including in the agriculture sector. 

Emergency Housing Rehabilitation - bringing 16,240 people back to their homes

  • The Programme’s initial goal was to rehabilitate 4,000 homes. As result of efficiency and operational savings the Programme raised the number of housing units to be rehabilitated to 4,640, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to more than 16,240 people most of whom have now been able to return to their homes, which had been rendered uninhabitable by the floods.
  • Housing rehabilitation beneficiaries were selected though a public and transparent selection process conducted by municipal commissions composed of municipal officials, local community and civil society representatives, and staff working in municipal social work centres.
  • Their work was supported by UNDP and IOM staff and guided by criteria developed by a Working Group on Housing established by the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees. The selection criteria prioritized the elderly, people with disabilities, single-parent households, women, and those in difficult economic circumstances.

 

Communal Infrastructure – enabling transportation and uninterrupted and safe water supply and sanitation

  • Communal infrastructure, which includes roads and bridges, enables residents to access markets, schools, health care centres, administrative buildings, and places of worship among other. It further includes water supply and sanitation facilities, all of which may simply be taken for granted until their absence is seen to affect the lives of thousands of people.  
  • The EU Floods Recovery Programme in cooperation with flood-affected municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina developed a list of 63 priority bridges, 51 roads and 31 water and sanitation facilities that are being rehabilitated in order to restore traffic and water supply and sewage and sanitation facilities in flood-affected communities.
  • This rehabilitation work has restored normal transportation conditions and water supply, as well as sanitation, for more than 610,000 people.

    An additional four disaster risk reduction measures were implemented to safeguard four schools and one administrative building from future risk of flooding or landslide.

 

Public institutions – re-establishing health care, education, social care and municipal services

  • Following the floods, the EU Floods Recovery Programme in cooperation with municipal authorities and line ministries identified key public institutions that needed to be rehabilitated in order to restore services.
  • Those included 156 schools and 12 kindergartens for more than 71,800 children and students, six health care centres for 288,381 users, four centres for social work for 22,859 beneficiaries, and buildings for three municipal administrations that service 206,781 people.
  • Programme activities ranged from the rehabilitation of school and kindergarten buildings to providing furniture and laboratory and other teaching equipment, all of which further improved studying conditions for children and young people.
  • Health care providers were rehabilitated in six municipalities: Doboj, Domaljevac-Šamac, Maglaj, Olovo, Orašje and Šamac.
  • Social work centres were rehabilitated in Doboj, Maglaj, Olovo and Sanski Most, and municipal buildings were rehabilitated in Doboj, Maglaj and Šamac.

 

Economy and agriculture – restarting production, income generation, and job protection and job creation

  • The economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina was seriously affected by the May 2014 floods. The EU Floods Recovery Programme stepped in to help alleviate the economic impact in affected communities. This was necessary in order to ensure that agricultural producers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in flood-affected communities would continue to operate and thus retain their economic viability; the rehabilitation of private homes, infrastructure and public services would not of itself have safeguarded livelihoods.
  • The Programme’s economic recovery activities helped to protect and create more than 5,600 jobs.
  • A total of 116 SMEs were provided with necessary equipment and materials, training, and access to markets and were able to retain 3,776 jobs and create some 550 new ones – amounting to 4,326 jobs.
  • In addition, 1,270 commercial and subsistence agricultural producers received support in order to restart production and generate monthly incomes that now support their families in a sustainable manner. The Programme’s investment in the agricultural sector alone generated a double return, i.e. incomes ranging from 700 to 1,500 BAM per month per household.
  • Furthermore, income generated by the Programme’s activities had a positive spill-over effect on local economies by increasing local trade and overall consumption.
  • All the beneficiaries of the Programme’s economic recovery activities were selected through public calls.

 

Housing Risk Assessment - enabling risk-informed and evidence-based decision making

  • Recognizing that recovery efforts should feature reconstruction based on better planning and greater resilience, the EU Floods Recovery Programme produced the first multi-hazard risk assessment for the housing sector for the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This takes into account climate change and places identified flood and landslide risk in a spatial dimension.
  • The Flood and Landslide Risk Assessment for the Housing Sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina is based on a geographic information system (GIS) and the socio-economic characteristics of municipalities, i.e. their inhabitants; it enables all levels of government to develop risk-informed and evidence-based policies and decide on measures that need to be taken in order to prevent or mitigate the impact of future floods or landslides.
  • The Assessment found that 283,777 people live in areas that are exposed to a very significant risk of flooding, while 260,731 people live in areas with very significant risk of landslides. It estimates the cost of potential damage from future floods and landslides at 7.8 billion BAM.
  • The Assessment calls on relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop early warning systems, flood emergency preparedness plans, and land use regulations, and to build dykes and floodwalls, and harmonize and implement legislation on spatial planning and construction, and on geological surveys in the Federation of BiH, Republika Srpska and Brčko District, all of which would mitigate risk.
  • The Assessment can be accessed HERE.