Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia are better prepared for future floods following severe flooding in May 2014
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia are now better prepared and have greater capacity to cope with flooding following the response to the devastating floods that affected the countries in May 2014. This was the main conclusion of a two-day meeting on 7-8 November 2014, conducted by WHO/Europe in Belgrade, Serbia.
Around 30 participants from various key government institutions from the 3 affected countries discussed a number of topics, including removal of animal carcasses, soil cleaning, the use of disinfection barriers, and insurance policies. They exchanged their experiences on successes and challenges encountered during the health response to the floods.
Several themes were identified as common to the three countries and in need of follow up, including:
- boosting emergency preparedness and capacity, through for example, joint simulation exercises and Standard Operating Procedures;
- strengthening intersectoral and cross-border coordination and collaboration;
- developing procedures to simplify the importation of humanitarian goods in emergencies; and
- improving national capacities for crisis communication.
The support provided by WHO during the emergency was acknowledged by representatives from all three countries, who also expressed interest in future lessons-learned exercises.
The workshop was financially supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade, and organized by WHO/Europe, the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health and the three WHO Country offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia.