Renewed floods renew Bosnia’s troubles
ZELJEZNO POLJE, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Bosnian man whose home was swept away by flooding has seen his attempts at rebuilding fall prey to a new round of floods.
Torrents in May swept away Besim Tutnjic’s house in the village of Zeljezno Polje. He bought himself a tent to live in while he rebuilt his home on the same foundations. When a smaller flood destroyed his tent in July, he bought another one.
Then on Wednesday the water came back again, and swept the new construction some 700 meters (yards) down the slope “as if it was floating on an airbed,” he said. The second tent was also washed away.
“Now I only have an umbrella,” said Tutnjic, one of around 300 villagers who are holding protests on the main road through central Bosnia to draw the government’s attention to their problem.
The May floods affected 40 percent of Bosnia, wrecking the main agricultural industry, wiping out infrastructure and forcing almost a quarter of the population of 4 million to leave their homes. More than 2,000 landslides destroyed entire villages like Zeljezno Polje.
International donors pledged 809 million euros ($1.08 billion) to help Bosnia recover from floods but spending this money requires planning and preparations — a process too slow for the flood victims of Zeljezno Polje, who now fear they will not have a roof over their heads this winter.