Donors pledge 1.8 bln euros for flood-stricken Balkan states

Source: Reuters - Wed, 16 Jul 2014 22:17 GMT
Author: Reuters
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Fata Kovacevic reacts near her flood-damaged house in Topcic Polje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
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BRUSSELS, July 16 (Reuters) - A conference of international donors pledged more than 1.8 billion euros ($2.43 billion) on Wednesday to help Bosnia and Serbia recover from devastating floods in May.

The European Commission, the EU executive, said the conference had mobilised pledges of 809 million euros for Bosnia and 995 million euros for Serbia, plus 41 million euros for cross-border activities.

The financial aid would be used for rebuilding houses and public buildings, the rapid restoration of water and energy supplies and urgent assistance for those still without proper shelter.

In addition, the money will be used for flood management, disaster protection and rebuilding transport and energy infrastructure and it will be administered with EU support, the statement said.

Bosnia and Serbia belong to the same river basin, which requires efficient regional cooperation.

The statement said dykes and dams would be rebuilt and upgraded according to international standards and the Commission, the EU executive, would call a regional meeting in the autumn to help development of a regional flood response strategy.

In May, the heaviest rainfall in more than a century caused rivers in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia to burst their banks, sweeping away roads, bridges and homes.

The Commission's statement estimated damage and economic losses at around 2 billion euros in Bosnia and 1.5 billion euros in Serbia. ($1 = 0.7394 Euros) (Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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