The European Union has been the largest donor for flood relief to the Republic of Serbia after the May 2014 floods, when the unprecedented rains in Serbia caused the floods and landslides that were unheard of, leaving behind significant damage. During the floods 57 people lost their lives, while approximately 32,000 had to leave their homes. The losses incurred in only a few days were estimated at 1.7 billion Euros, and the damages were recorded in 119 local self-governments throughout Serbia. Only few months later, another flooding caused by the heavy rain hit the eastern part of the country in September 2014, leaving significant damage behind.
The European Union was among the first donors, sending rescue teams and humanitarian assistance through its Civil Protection Mechanism. In order for the rehabilitation of Serbia to start as soon as possible, the EU funded the European Union Assistance for Flood Relief in Serbia Programme with 30 million Euros, secured through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) 2012, that was implemented in 39 most affected cities and municipalities. Subsequently, with the allocation of 72 million Euros through IPA 2014, the Programme was expanded to 57 local self-governments, not only to provide post flood relief, but also to rehabilitate and improve the flood protection system in Serbia.
These funds have been used for the construction and reconstruction of damaged houses, the procurement of furniture and appliances for households, the reconstruction of public buildings, the repair of roads, the revival of economy and agriculture through income generating activities and assistance to agricultural households. Furthermore, the funds have been directed for the improvement of the living conditions in temporary shelters, for the purchase of biocides to decrease the mosquito population and to strengthen the capacities of the Government of Serbia Public Investment Management Office (PIMO) - previous Flood Affected Areas Assistance and Recovery Office (FAAARO). The IPA 2014 funds assisted Serbia to improve disaster risk management and flood prevention systems, the rehabilitation of flood protection structures and the road transport network damaged by the landslides.
The EU Assistance for Flood Relief in Serbia Programme was designed in close cooperation with the Government of Serbia’s Public Investment Management Office (PIMO) and the European Integration Office (SEIO), and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe e.V. (Help), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the World Bank (WB).
The EU support also encompassed 60 million Euros from the EU Solidarity Fund for the rehabilitation of public infrastructure, available to Serbia as if it were a member state, and ten million Euros for Cross-Border Programme Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina.