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Israel Humanitarian Operations: Flood Rescue Efforts in Serbia & Bosnia

(May 2014)

In May 2014, Serbia and Bosnia were hit with record floods that left cities submerged underwater and more than two dozen people dead and thousands without homes. The IDF has sent at least 1.5 million tons of medical and humanitarian aid to Serbia to help the country cope with the disaster's aftermath. Israel sent shipments of medicine, food, blankets and rain gear - all by helicopter as many cities were cut off by the extreme flooding. The emergency aid also included lighting equipment for the rescue teams who are evacuating residents trapped in flooded areas. The Israeli embassy also airlifted medicine to the hospital in Bijeljina in Bosnia, where heavy rainfall causes roads to be cut off. Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also prepared to hasten sanitary assistance to many populated areas of Serbia where the water levels are expected to decline. Multiple Serbian cities and town are submerged under two meters of mud and water.

Bosnia's town of Doboj, which has a small Jewish community, was hit especially hard as waters left at least 20 people dead and the city center completely underwater, including the Jewish community building that had a synagogue on an upper floor.

According to the Nis, Serbia Jewish community president Jasna Ciric, all Jewish community members were safe but some were trapped in their homes without electricity, water or access to telephones.

The Republic of Serbia's assistant chief representative in Israel Aleksander Nikolic said that Israel's aid was a "very human gesture" and "proof of friendship in a most difficult moment."

Sources: Jerusalem Post (May 18, 2014), Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs