Balkan Floods: Every House Has Its Story

By Berina Verlasevic

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has been hit by an extreme disaster– the worst floods in the region in over 100 years. Prijedor is one of the areas in BiH that has been devastated. Since our project took place in Prijedor, it was inevitably that we would come face to face with the flood damage.

Some of the people that we met were living through really hard times. They were not prepared for the floods. But life does not ask you if you are prepared. However, I ask you: What do you think people are feeling? Do you think that these people lost everything?

Every House Has Its Story

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This couple lost their home three times in the last twenty years. First, the war (1992-1995) took their home. Second, they left their temporary home in Sanski Most in order to return as refugees. And, now the floods took their home. It is difficult to comprehend this pain until you meet it face to face.

However, do you see their smiles? Those smiles explain that they did not lose each other.

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Only 15 minutes were needed to destroy houses, farms, and everything that was in the water’s way.

It will probably take 15 years for reconstruction.

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The floods showed the strength of nature: the water ate the walls, it flooded the toilets, it entered the houses, and buried everything in over two meters of water.

People tried to save their animals in the gardens, but many of their pets died. Old people could not get out quickly, so they were rescued by boat. Their plants and gardens were ruined. Many shops and supermarkets were destroyed, along with many people’s jobs and livelihoods.

However…

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People are people. They help each other. Countless donations and aid have come to Bosnia and Herzegovina. People have not forgotten the meaning of the humanity. People are grateful for any help.

8Two families are living temporarily in this space. They totally lost their homes. They do not have anywhere to go. The conditions are very poor. They are situated in a gymnasium that has two small windows. They lack adequate food. More than 10 children stay there now. They are eating unhealthy food.

The worst thing is that these people must move from this place by the end of June. Where will they go?

If there are any people who are willing to help them, please do!

9This was my experience. How did I feel? I do not remember spending time with these people as bad memory. I learned that even in the worst scenarios people fight and do not give up. Again, they remind me what is humanity. There is no better feeling than helping others.

When you look at these pictures, do not feel sorry for them. Behind the demolished houses lies a much deeper story. Anyone could find themselves in such a position, so this is not a tragedy. It is the life. They are experienced in one step more. We can help them not to fall – to move on, live, and climb. At the same time, we are climbing with them together.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn

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