Flood damages in Serbia estimated at 1.5 bln euros

Posted at 10:49 under a-noticias-ingles

Belgrade, July 11 (Xinhua) — Heavy floods that struck Serbia in mid-May inflicted total damages of 1.5 billion euros (2 billion U.S. dollars), according to official estimations unveiled Friday.

Marko Blagojevic, director of the government’s office for reconstruction and assistance in flooded areas, presented the estimation report at a press conference held here.

The official said that the cost of bringing everything back to function will cost around 402 million euros, while 942 million euros more will be needed to complete recovery of all sectors after the floods.

According to the report, the biggest damage has been inflicted to the country’s energy sector where nearly half billion euro will be needed to put everything back as it was, as well as people’s house where repairs will cost some 263 million euros.

Blagojevic said that over 400 houses have been completely destroyed, while it is estimated that some 17,000 homes have also suffered varying amounts of damage.

The water also flooded two coal mines, damaged power plants and the power grid, destroyed machines and equipment as well as final products of numerous small and medium enterprises as well as large industrial facilities. Some 12,700 production units and trading facilities have been hit by floods.

Waters have also damaged 74 medical units including infirmaries, healthcare centers and clinics, as well as 35 educational institutions, while on the surface of 12,000 hectares of arable land there will be no crops this year because of the flood.

Some 150 million euros’ damage was inflicted to Serbian agriculture, while trade suffered 157 million in damages. Around 128 million euros will be needed to repair roads, railways and bridges damaged by waters and landslides.

Blagojevic said that Serbia currently has 29 million euros on the government’s account for assistance to flooded areas, but the allocation of the money will not begin until the end of July.

By the end of July, Serbia will start rebuilding houses that were destroyed or damaged, as well as prepare and send application to the European Commission asking for assistance from the European Union’s solidarity fund.

“I will consider us very lucky if we manage to put together several hundred millions of euro from donations and all other sources,” said Marko Blagojevic, adding that the rest will have to be covered with loans.

A donor conference that will be attended by foreign ministers and high officials of numerous countries will be held in Brussels on July 16 in order to gather money to repair damages inflicted by floods in Serbia as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.