Sunday, May 18, 2014

Aleksandar Vučić: Danger still not over. -"The end is not close, but we have more hope today"

BELGRADE - Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Sunday that the situation in Serbia was somewhat better, but that the threat from floods would remain over the next two days, mostly along the river Sava.

"The end is not close, but we have more hope today than we had yesterday," he said at a meeting of the national headquarters for emergencies.

The stabilisation has unfortunately occurred as the result of the Sava overflowing in other countries of the region (Bosnia-Herzegovina), but another rise in the water level will happen by Wednesday and that time should be used to prepare defences, he stated.

The prime minister thanked the people of Serbia who had displayed unselfish dedication and assisted in rescuing those threatened by the floods.

He particularly thanked those who had helped build sandbag levees in Sabac and Sremska Mitrovica, where the Sava was on the rise, adding that 12,500 from Belgrade alone had responded to his call for help that same night.
"It is the Serbia's youth and it shows the kind of future that we have," he noted.

The organisation was much better than in wealthier and more developed countries, even though Serbia had been hit by a disaster ten times worse, Vucic pointed out, adding that the European commissioner for crisis response had told him over the phone the EU was impressed by the level of mobilisation among the Serbian people.

  • The Sava's water level near Sabac is 660 cm above normal, which is 1 m higher than the previous record level, the participants of the meeting said, adding that an efficient defence was possible up to 680 cm, while anything higher than that was difficult to combat.
  • Two dead found in Obrenovac so far
Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić said on Sunday that two dead had so far been found in Obrenovac, a Belgrade municipality that was completely flooded three days ago.
"We pulled out two dead people in Obrenovac on the second day, and today, in the part of Obrenovac where the water has receded, we have found dead animals, but no additional human casualties," he said at a meeting of the national headquarters for emergencies.

The situation in Obrenovac was the worst in the part called Belo Polje, which is still under water, so the final number of casualties will be determined later, he explained.

Vucic stressed that he hoped the excellent efforts by the authorities and the people during the kind of disaster that happened once in a thousand years would result in the damage and casualties being less than what was expected on the first day of the state of emergency, which was declared on May 15.

  • Gratitude to all who helped Serbia
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic expressed gratitude to individuals, companies and foreign governments whose help made it possible for Serbia to react in the best possible way in the flood defence actions.

At the session of the Republic Emergency Management Headquarters, Vucic expressed gratitude to Russia, the European Commission, the U.S., Austria, regional countries, Israel, Turkey, Belarus and all those who sent assistance and rescue teams to Serbia.
”It turned out that the policy of friendship and cooperation in the region means a lot for our country and that we have managed to prevent even worse consequences thanks to emergency measures,” the prime minister said.

”We express gratitude for the effort and understanding for our needs. We will remember this well and make up for it to all those who helped us,” Vucic underscored.

The prime minister expressed gratitude to athletes, actors, sports fans and all volunteers who joined flood defence actions and provided assistance to the vulnerable population.

He said that a large number of individuals and governments sent assistance to Serbia, including the considerable assistance that arrived from Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and warned that the destination of every mode of material and financial assistance coming from the country and abroad must be established because not a single case of abuse must be allowed to happen.

During the session of the Republic Emergency Management Headquarters, officials stated that in the next few days, the most vulnerable citizens hit by floods in Serbia will need drinking water, food products and baby food, medicines, clothes and toiletries.

Among medicines, the most needed are the blood pressure and heart condition remedies, medications for diabetes, asthma, as well as linctus, antibiotics for children and disinfectants.


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