Mr Amir Omanovic, director of SOS Children's Villages Bosnia and Herzegovina, provides an overview of the situation at SOS Nursery Goradze:
SOS Nursery Goradze
Morning December 2nd
At the moment we are facing a very difficult situation caused by heavy rains which have affected large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the provinces of Sarajevo, Herzegovina-Neretva and Bosnia-Podrinje. The most affected town is Gorazde. Many buildings and houses were flooded, and families evacuated. State and regional civil defence and fire departments are mobilized and a state of emergency was declared for Gorazde.
Unfortunately the SOS Nursery in Gorazde is heavily affected and currently under water. Estimation is that the level of water in SOS Nursery Gorazde is approximately 1.7 meters. Early this morning huge waves hit Gorazde due to torrential rain in Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia, this led to a subsequent release of water from hydropower plants.
On Wednesday, 1 December, all children from the nursery were sent home and all are safe at the moment. Our Gorazde team has moved equipment and documentation to the second floor. Our colleagues are doing all they can and we are in constant communication with relevant stakeholders regarding the crisis and further steps.
Afternoon December 2nd: Mr Omanovic Arrived at the SOS Nursery site
After visiting our SOS Nursery in Gorazde the following can be reported: Our nursery is still under water but the water level decreased to 30 centimetres - however, we have not been able to enter the building for safety reasons, although it is not structurally damaged.
Several parts of Gorazde city are under water and many families have been evacuated. The Army, police, fire department and many citizens are trying to help and an emergency response is still in force. It's hard to predict whether the situation will worsen or not, but the general impression is that water level is decreasing.
The homes of three staff members are flooded but there are no casualties. I have to underline that all staff members have invested a lot of energy in dealing with the disaster and tried their best to help the children and limit the damage. We still do not have relevant information regarding our Family Strengthening Programme families but within the next day or two we will visit all of them to assess their situation.
The nursery is insured against water damage - renovation costs will therefore be paid by our insurance.
Director of SOS Children's Villages Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flooding in Albania
Torrential rains hit Albania last week causing floods in almost half the country. The situation is worst in the north of the country in the region of Shkodra, where over 12,000 people were evacuated and over 7,000 houses were flooded. Some families who are supported by SOS Children in Shkodra are heavily affected and have been provided with the most needed supplies.
The flooding in Shkodra has been alarming for locals. Most roads remain submerged in water, electricity is cut off and people can only move around in small boats. The military and police are engaged in the evacuation process and Albania has requested NATO assistance. Schools and most businesses are closed, local media report.
So far, according to information from the ground, two of the larger districts in the city have fared the worst. One of the two is the fourth district where SOS Children runs a Family Strengthening Programme. SOS staff are in constant contact with the families of beneficiaries by phone.
At least 33 families from our programmes are heavily affected by the floods. The houses of ten families are up to metre and a half in water. The other families live on higher floors (these houses are surrounded by water and families are unable to leave their homes). Some families have been evacuated from their houses and are currently living in temporary accommodation.
The psychological condition of the families is very difficult. Staff report that parents express deep concerns over the emotional condition of their children, some of whom break down in tears and experience panic attacks at the sight of rising waters.
According to our staff, items such as food, clothes, blankets and medicines are urgently needed. The family strengthening team began supplying these items to our evacuated beneficiaries. Contacts with other NGOs have been made in order to coordinate a larger scale assistance programme and expand the services to more families.