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.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

well,’’ Zvi­jer

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.

Pho­tos: REUTERS

Tem­po­rary home: Evac­uees from the Ser­bian town of Obren­o­vac take a rest on beds in a shel­ter hall in Bel­grade.

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