By now, many of you may be aware of the 100-year flood in the Balkans, including Bosnia & Herzegovina. We want to assure you that our team is completely safe; the nearest devastating flooding is over three hours away from where we live. However, this trauma has gripped the entire region.
The equivalent of three months of rain fell in three days. The result was devastating. Whole towns were covered in water. Mudslides and landslides washed away bridges and buildings. Dangerous landmines left undetonated from the war were shifted from their known locations. Lives, possessions, animals, and homes were lost. Tens of thousands of people are displaced. This massive destruction is a tremendous burden for an already economically strained area.
In the first several days after the flood, our World Hope International office was an official collection site for supplies including food, blankets, diapers, medicine, and drinking water. Our community pulled together and gave generously, entrusting us to deliver nearly five tons of aid to those who need it. Through personal contacts we were able to identify about fifty families in need from Doboj, one of the most affected areas. The emergency supplies were hand delivered to these families as well as the local association of parents of children with special needs. Everyone was extremely grateful.
The waters have receded and the situation has stabilized, but the long term damage is still being assessed. The battle against destructive mold and bacteria has begun. Airing out the bottom floors of buildings is a long and necessary process to prevent the potential rotting away of whole structures as well as health complications for those who would prematurely move back into their homes. The temptation to shortcut the recovery process is great for those who cannot afford to relocate while they wait for concrete walls to dry out. Yet, the long term consequences could be detrimental. In some cases, homes have been damaged beyond the hope of repair. Further complicating matters, many of the flooded areas affected squatters who built their houses without permits (a commonly accepted practice). No legal record exists of these places, making it difficult to receive government assistance to rebuild what technically is not there. Yet these are real families for whom the heartache and need is very real.
Our plan is to continue to offer assistance as the long process of recovery unfolds. Our goal is to practically and tangibly share the love of Christ by assisting families to rebuild homes they lost and to secure safe, temporary housing before winter. We are partnering with other local NGOs to also make additional supplies available over the coming months. We ask for your prayers for wisdom and strength as we manage the work ahead and connect with those in need. We are praying that people who are wondering why God would allow this to happen would find that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
For those who would like to give through Global Partners, give to the Livno Community Development project (WM06-1114). Just mention “Bosnia Flood Relief.” For those who like to give through our World Hope International partners, please go to the giving page at www.worldhope.org/give/bosnia.
Thanks for your prayers and for joining us to share hope with the hurting and hopeless.