Feeling helpless after floods
The floods in Serbia left at least one Aucklander feeling like his hands were tied. JESS LEE speaks to Serbian-born Nedeljko Zvijer in the aftermath.
Thousands evacuated, at least 43 dead and entire towns cut off.
Imagine watching the news one morning and seeing the town you grew up in under water.
That’s what happened to Serbianborn Nedeljko Zvijer when the heaviest rains and floods in 120 years hit Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia last month.
Three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in just three days.
Zvijer felt powerless to help when he first heard, he says.
‘‘To see all of the places where I played as a child flooded was horrible.’’
He is supporting the fundraising efforts of Pt Chevalier’s Serbian Orthodox Church to help those affected by the floods through its monthly bake sale.
Zvijer moved to Auckland about 13 years ago.
Many of his extended family are still in his home town of Obrenovac, one of the areas that had to be evacuated.
The waters rose within hours, racing into homes without warning.
People living in apartment blocks had to be airlifted out by helicopter – including members of Zvijer’s family.
‘‘You just feel so sorry for all the families who are there and you are so far away, you feel you can’t help,’’ he says.
Flood-hit areas face a new threat as drowned livestock pose a health hazard.
Falling thousands behind.
Army teams have been decontaminating and disinfecting flooded areas to prevent the possible spread floodwaters revealed of dead animals left of diseases, including hepatitis and typhoid, which can occur after flooding.
Zvijer says people are still in desperate need of help as they try to clean up their towns.
‘‘We’re really fortunate to see that after such a crisis, people really band together, in Serbia and here in New Zealand as says.
The next Serbian Orthodox Church bake sale will be held on July 7 from 9am till 1pm at 315 Pt Chevalier Rd.
Evacuating town, above: Residents and a dog make their way through flood water in Obrenovac.
left: Nedeljko Zvijer fears for his people’s future.
Worried, Needing rescue, right: People stand in their apartments as they wait to be evacuated in Obrenovac.
Temporary home: Evacuees from the Serbian town of Obrenovac take a rest on beds in a shelter hall in Belgrade.