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1st Mission SERBIA

Two teams of the Greek humanitarian Organization Heart Doctors, one from Athens and another from Thessaloniki, transferred and distributed humanitarian relief from Greece to the flood victims in Serbia. More specifically, following the suggestions of the Embassy of Serbia in Athens, the relief was offered to the municipality of Obrenovac, in the area of Greater Belgrade and the municipality of Krupanj, in the District of Macva; there the needs caused by the recent tremendous floods in the Balkans were more urgent. The distributed items were: second hand clothing and footwear, foodstuffs ( pasta, rice, evaporated milk, flour, pulse, tinned food ), bottled drinking water, blankets, sheets and mattresses, toilet paper, soap and nappies. The relief articles were offered for the mission by people and school children in Athens, Thessaloniki, the island of Rhodes and other places in Greece. The transportation to Belgrade was carried out by a trailer from Athens and by a van from Thessaloniki. Leader of the mission was Mrs. Helen Sotiriou, Vice president of Heart doctors; in the team from Athens participated also Mrs. Eugenia Lyra, Mrs. Stefania Lamprou-Yatagana and Mr. Alexander Maganas. The team from Thessaloniki consisted of Mrs. Popi Dimitriadou, Mr. Hasan Badawi, Mrs. Evina Badawi, Mrs. Parthena Kiorteve, Mr. Pantelis and Mr. Symeon Ziogos, and Mr. Vasilis Abatzidis. Mrs. Rania Karatzaferi, journalist, and Mr. Pantelis Theodorou, cameraman, accompanied the mission from the Greek TV channel Epsilon.

The team from Athens flew to Belgrade by Air Serbia early in the afternoon of Saturday, the 7th of June, 2014. The team from Thessaloniki left for Belgrade by car through Bulgaria, on the same day. The two teams met out of Belgrade and then moved to the city of Sabac where the spent the nights till the end of the mission.

Next day (8.6.2014) the mission visited Obrenovac. This town is the center of a municipality ( one of 17 municipalities making up the greater area of Belgrade; it is situated 30 kilometers south-west of central Belgrade, and apart of the town it consists of 14 villages. Its place is crossed by rivers and the town was submerged and completely evacuated during the recent disastrous floods, with 14 confirmed deaths. Floodwaters reached the second floor of many buildings ruining houses, roads, power and water supply networks. We observed deep floodwaters stagnating in many places. Heaps and masses of various materials, swept away by the rushing waters, were seen in many places while groups of soldiers sprayed with disinfectants to prevent diseases - animals were drowned and the atmosphere smelled badly. The situation reminded the disaster in Sri Lanka (tsunami, 26.12.2004). The relief brought from Thessaloniki was distributed to the homeless. The flood victims received the relief enthusiastically thanking Greece for the humanitarian aid.

On the same day the mission moved to Bosnia to see if flood-hit people were found near the Serbian borders; they were informed that relief was needed near the capital of Bosnia. Thus Hear Doctors decided to organize a second humanitarian mission particularly for Bosnia.

Next day (9.6.2014) Heart Doctors visited Krupanj, where the relief in the trailer from Athens was cleared by the customs authorities. Krupanj is also a municipality crossed by rivers; it had been flooded but there remained no stagnant floodwaters. A part of the humanitarian material was distributed to the flood victims of Krupanj. The rest was taken to Obrenovac and was distributed there, because the needs were much more urgent in that city. People of Obrenovac gratefully accepted the assistance thanking Greece and the mission members.

On the 10th of June the teams returned to Athens and Thessaloniki respectively.

Heart Doctors express their warmest thanks to all who have assisted by offering useful articles or by contributing in many other ways to gather, pack, load, transport and distribute the relief. Thanks are extended to the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affaires, the Embassy of Serbia in Greece, the local authorities officials in Serbia and the Serbian Army.

Heart Doctors are now preparing a new humanitarian mission to Obrenovac and Bosnia.

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