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Girl from SOS CV Kraljevo
Serbian families struggle with poor social welfare and high unemployment. Worsening household poverty has left children at serious risk. In Kraljevo, we provide homes for the most vulnerable and help local parents provide their children with a happy childhood and the best opportunities. … more about our charity work in Serbia

Thousands forced from home by Balkans floods

Thousands of families have been forced from their homes in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia. Credit: Tanjug
Thousands of families have been forced from their homes in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia. Credit: Tanjug

Parts of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia are underwater as the Balkans suffers its worst flooding since records began. Thousands of families have been forced from their homes, and a state of emergency declared in Serbia and Bosnia. All SOS families are safe, but we remain on alert as forecasters predict the heaviest rains are yet to come.

The Balkans has suffered its heaviest rainfall since records began 120 years ago, with three months of rain falling in just a few days. Though floodwaters are receding today, further rainfall is forecast and experts are predicting water levels will reach their highest tomorrow. In Serbia alone, tens of thousands of people have been forced to leave their homes. At least 35 people have died across the region, with the death toll expected to rise as the crisis continues.

The flooding has caused other major hazards. Parts of Serbia's Tesla power plant and its mine has been flooded, costing the national economy millions of euros. In Bosnia, thousands of landmines left unexploded after the war of 1992-95 have been dislodged. Children are always most at risk from unexploded bombs as they are naturally curious and not always aware of the danger. The flooding has triggered over 3,000 landslides across the Balkans.

SOS families safe as rainfall continues

Sarajevo girl close up 38914
SOS families in all Children's Villages in the affected countries are safe, and we remain alert

Our SOS Children's Village in Serbia is located in the city of Kraljevo, on the confluence of the Ibar and Western Morava rivers. Flooding has hit the east of the city, leaving 1,000 homes underwater and forcing over 150 people to evacuate. Fortunately, the Children's Village is situated on higher ground, safe from floodwater at current levels, and all SOS families remain safe. However, more flooding is expected following snowmelt from the nearby mountains. We are constantly monitoring the situation and will do all we can to keep the children safe.

SOS families also remain safe in our Children's Villages in Bosnia. With rainfall continuing, our national director Amir Omanovic stresses the severity of the crisis: “The situation is alarming. There were many areas which were flooded, a number of landslides activated and road communications are blocked. Worsening of the situation is forecast, because the rains are not stopping.” In Croatia, flooding has so far only affected eastern regions. Our Children's Village in Ladimirevci is located in the danger area, but SOS families are so far unaffected.

A long-term presence in the Balkans

We have a long-term presence across the Balkans, offering a loving family to the most vulnerable children across the region since the fall of the Iron Curtain. We are long established in the countries affected by the recent floods, and have a long history of helping families affected by the worst crises. Our presence in 125 countries means we are well-placed to deliver emergency support to families whenever disaster strikes.

The Balkans in brief:

  • We began work in Croatia in 1992 and today we care for children in two key locations: Lebenik and Ladimirevci.
  • In 1994, we launched emergency support to help many of the families in Bosnia's capital Sarajevo caring for orphaned children. Today, we provide care in Children's Villages in Sarajevo and Gracanica.
  • Group of smiling children Sarajevo 14195
    We provide a happy family upbringing for children left alone by disaster
    Serbia has been home to a Children's Village since 2003, when be began work in Kraljevo. We also support families in the south-eastern city of Nis.

You can help. Sponsor an SOS Children's Village

At times of crisis, we are there. As disaster recedes, we remain; providing care for the children left alone and vulnerable. The aftermath of natural disaster is always tough, as families struggle to rebuild lives and livelihoods, and children find themselves isolated and homeless. We provide homes for these children. We give them a family and an SOS mother so that they can enjoy the security that every child needs and deserves.

Please help us continue this vital work, and sponsor an SOS Children's Village in the Balkans.

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