Serbia needs rescue teams, saving lives priority

Ivica Dacic

Ivica Dačić has said that Serbia now above all needs assistance in equipment, along with rescue teams to save the affected towns and their residents.

He pointed out that another kind of assistance would follow – through the rebuilding and donations. Now, aluminum motor boats, helicopters, blankets and rescue teams are most urgently needed, Dačić added.

“We must save towns and people, and then follows the reconstruction of the country and donations. We’ll need the help of the EU and the UN,” the Serbian foreign minister and first deputy prime minister told the public broadcaster RTS on Saturday.

“At this point it is important to save as many people as possible and that the help which is now arriving in related to rescue (operations),” he said, adding that the minister in charge of EU integration, Jadranka Joksimović, “will talk about what will come once the crisis situation is over,” and that the EU “will certainly provide help.”

“We as a government addressed all countries in a timely manner and launched also a mechanism with the EU, as a system for emergency situations. They will assess the damage, which is important for a fund and damage,” he said.

According to Dačić, the EU immediately sent a directive to member states to immediately respond in terms of direct assistance in equipment and manpower.

He then pointed out that many countries, including Montenegro, Israel, Macedonia, Croatia and others, contacted the Serbian authorities immediately to help in various ways, and that the Ministry of Interior had set up a body to coordinate activities related to the collection of aid.

Dačić stressed that many rescue teams from other countries arrived here to help and that Serbians should express their deep gratitude.

“We sent a note to all international missions in Serbia, thanked and conveyed a request for delivery of equipment,” Dačić said, adding that an account had been set up by the government for donations to the flood victims.

He said that Serbia also turned to the United Nations for assistance in manpower.

Serbia is grateful to all, both states and individuals, who have answered the call to help the endangered citizens, “and in particular to the Russian Federation,” he noted.

Dačić also commented on the situation in the region, primarily in the Republika Srpska (RS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and noted that there it also became evident that one country cannot cope with such disasters alone.

Now that the precipitation has ceased in the crisis areas, there is a danger of water waves arriving to Serbia from the RS, Dačić warned, but said he “hoped this darkest scenario would not come to pass.”

Japan sends aid

The Japanese government decided on Saturday to send assistance to flood-hit Serbia to the total value of JPY 10 million (around USD 100,000), the Japanese embassy in Serbia released.

Because of the severe damages caused by catastrophic floods in Serbia, the Japanese government will deliver assistance, comprising tents, sleeping pads and other equipment, which will be used immediately, states the release.

The decision of the Japanese government was adopted for humanitarian considerations for the endangered population and the friendly ties between Serbia and Japan.

The people of Japan will not forget the assistance and support by the people of Serbia in the difficult times after the powerful quake and tsunami which hit eastern Japan in 2011, the embassy said.

How to help and get help

If you wish to donate RSD 100 to a special government account set up to help the victims of the flood you can send a text message to 1003 using any of the three mobile operators in Serbia.

If you wish to make a money contribution to the fund set up to help the victims of the floods, please follow instructions from this page of the Serbian government’s official website.

If you are in need of assistance or evacuation from a flood-stricken area, dial one of these numbers provided by the Ministry of the Interior (MUP): 011 2289 208, 011 2282 910, 011 2741 157, 011 2282 943, and 011 2282 944.

These hotlines are to be used only to request evacuation and assistance and not information about the floods. The toll-free number 112 is available for the same purpose and can be accessed from the networks of all mobile operators in Serbia.

The number 1985 is to be used only in cases of direct danger to life, so that this line is kept open for such emergencies.(RTS, Tanjug)