Available funds three times lower than flood damage

BELGRADE - Only a third of the funds needed to repair the EUR 1.7 billion damage from the devastating floods last year are available to Serbia, Director of the Serbian government's Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief Marko Blagojevic said Wednesday.

The worst floods in the past 120 years hit two-thirds of the municipalities in Serbia in May last year, affecting 1.6 million people. So far, nearly 20,000 families received around RSD 4.7 billion in financial aid to help them repair their flood-damaged homes, said Blagojevic.

Speaking in a panel debate on the effects of climate changes, Blagojevic said that Serbia will soon be able to apply for a grant from the EU Solidarity Fund.

The Fund provides assistance in the event of a major natural disaster, to countries that have sustained the damage of 0.6 percent of GDP or more, and the damage in Serbia is eight times higher, reaching 4.8 percent of GDP, Blagojevic specified.

"We focused on the reconstruction rather than the damage, and we helped the people whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the floods. Right after that, we started working on repairing the flood defenses," said Blagojevic.

Photo Tanjug, T. Valic (archive)

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