Due to extreme precipitation in the period of 13-16 MAY 2014, there was a sudden and significant increase of water levels in the medium and small rivers in western, south-western, central and eastern Serbia. Some of the highest increases were recorded in the Sava River, the Kolubara River and in the Velika Morava River with its tributaries. The water levels of these rivers surpassed the irregular flood defence limits and new historical maximums have been recorded which provoked overflows spreading over 80,000 km2 and directly affecting over 1.6 million people. 32,000 people were evacuated, and 23 casualties were recorded. Almost 2,300 public buildings, 4,500 kilometres of roads, 250 bridges and 90,000 hectares of arable land were flooded. Power stations, power lines and railway traffic were disrupted. Around 2,000 landslides occurred in both populated and unpopulated areas.
Partial damage was inflicted on 16,200 individual housing units, and 485 were completely destroyed. The floods caused significant economic hardships for much of the population in Serbia and disproportionally affected poor and vulnerable people. Every tenth business, approximately 37,000 companies in Serbia suffered some sort of loss. Floods rendered some 12,000 hectares of crop area useless for agricultural production and caused more than €90 million in lost income from damaged crops. In total, disaster costs are estimated at €1.35 billion.
In the immediate aftermath of the floods, Serbia established a specific cross-sectorial institution, the Government Office for Reconstruction and Flood Relief, and launched a large recovery programme with the help of the international community. Emphasis was put on carrying out cleaning up operations and providing sustainable housing solutions to inhabitants of flooded areas.
As a follow-up to the emergency support provided under IPA 2012, the EU has earmarked €62m under the IPA 2014 Flood Recovery and Prevention Programme to help Serbia complete recovery efforts in response to the 2014 floods and strengthen its disaster risk management and flood prevention systems in order to reduce the impact of severe weather conditions in the future. EU Support for the Rehabilitation of Flood Protection Infrastructure (RFPI)" is a part of this Action. The RFPI implements the construction and upgrading of flood protection systems in the municipalities of Svilajnac, Paracin and Valjevo, the rehabilitation of damaged water pumping stations in six locations in the municipality of Obrenovac, and the rehabilitation of the network of drainage channels in the municipalities of Obrenovac and Surčin. The municipalities which were most affected by floods are those covered by the project i.e. they are the end beneficiaries.
The interventions under this project were
prioritised by the institutional beneficiaries: Public Water Management
Companies (PWMC) Srbijavode and Beogradvode, Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry
and Water Management, Water Directorate, Public Investment Management Office
and Ministry of European Integration. Besides the aforementioned institutional
beneficiaries, the target groups are selected local self-government entities
i.e. 5 municipalities/cities: (Paracin, Svilajnac, Valjevo, Obrenovac, Surčin).