International relief pours in to aid Balkan flood victims

Floods5People across Europe and beyond have heard the call from the natural disaster hitting the Balkans, digging deep in their pockets to support flood victims in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.

Truck loads of nappies, shoes, hygiene products, tinned food and bottled water have been driven across the continent from countries including England, Sweden and Germany, taking much-needed relief to the thousands who have been made homeless by the deluge.

The European Union has  promised substantial aid to benefit those in immediate need and to prevent future flooding, while countries including Norway, Austria, Russia, Belarus, Romania and the Netherlands have sent financial or physical aid.

So far, the British Government has not announced any financial donation, although experts anticipate that support from the UK will come when it is required for the clean up and rebuild of the country.

International Community Donates to the Balkans

As the full extent of the flooding became apparent, social media burst into action, late last week. Facebook groups and Twitter hashtags sprung up to spread word about the devastation to lives and livelihood in the Balkan states

It was not long before people came forward to do whatever they could to help the people of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, with donations being made via the International Red Cross and to dedicated bank accounts in the Serbian Government.

In the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and other countries, embassies of the affected Balkan states have coordinated donations of money and provisions to be passed on to those in need, while the diaspora mobilised its business societies, community groups and the Serbian Orthodox Church to collect relief parcels and channel efforts in the most efficient way.

The Serbian Embassy in London has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and support from people up and down the United Kingdom, who have donated car loads of essential supplies or put up their own vans to drive the aid to shelters and distribution centres in Serbia. The aid relief has been flown out by Air Serbia.

Celebrities also joined the call, fronted by international tennis star Novak Djovokić. His awareness-raising appearances and comments caught the eye of the world’s media and encouraged stars such as Boris Becker to tweet hashtags related to the flood relief.

Nole promised to hand over the prize money from his Rome win and Billy Idol, who will play Belgrade later this year, announced that he will donate a percentage of his earnings to the cause.Floods1

Global media houses had come in for some criticism for an apparent lack of reporting on the story, but they were quick to carry the tennis star’s call to action,  focused on his comments to highlight the disaster and its attendant loss of life.

The combined effect of all this effort has seen, though, and the money and gifts have been pouring in to accounts and collection points in Serbia and beyond.

Money and items are still desperately needed and donations can be made in many countries. Donors should contact their local embassies of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia to determine the most appropriate method of donation in their country.

Alternatively, international donations from 193 countries can be made via an official Serbian Government PayPal account:

The account belongs to the diplomatic mission of Serbia in Brussels, from where the funds will be sent directly to Serbia for the assistance of flood victims.

•  Anyone interested in learning more about Balkan literature and national identity can join some of the regions great writers, commentators and academics for Balkan Day at the British Library, on Friday, 13 June. Click here for more details and free admission#BalkanDay

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