Flooding hits the Balkans
The worst flooding in 120 years saw the Balkans receive three months of rainfall in three days in May, killing dozens of people in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The emergency communications provided by radio amateurs helped coordinate the rescue efforts. Many thousands of people were evacuated in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and many were without fresh water and services. More than 100,000 buildings were uninhabitable.
Jim Linton - VK3PC
The Savez radioamatera Srbije (Serbian Radio Association SRS) was engaged in disaster relief communications, with its control station YU0S using VHF and 3760 kHz. Zoran Mladenovi YU1EW, who coordinated the disaster relief communications, reported that they had everything needed to can handle the situation. Nenad Supurovic YU1TTL and his brother Pedja YT9TP were among the first registered and sent to Obrenovac in northern Sebia to support rescuers and emergency managers with communications.
In an interview on Aljazeera, Nenad YU1TTL told of the drama and how he became involved in the rescue efforts. He explained how radio amateurs transmit pieces of information received from crisis staff, such as who needs to be evacuated from flooded houses and apartments, and how. That interview has been posted and accessible via the following Link
The Cable News Network CNN reported that Marijan Miletic S56A/N1YU, monitored the flood situation and the activated emcomm networks, and Tilen Cestnik S56CT was sent to assist. There was a lot of mutual aid among the former republics of Yugoslavia. Two decades ago the area was hit by a war. Now it faces flood damage including 3,000 landslides, and the loss of telecommunications and electricity in many areas. Dead animals and unearthed landmines pose further hazards.
SRS member Dragan Antonic YU1UO worked in the emergency operations centre in Belgrade, estimating hams handled at least 25,000 pieces of traffic. Dragan YU1UO said the equipment and radio amateur knowledge was used to pass information to those carrying out the rescue work. He said the radio communication helped the crews to be more efficient in locating and evacuating those in danger. He explained this to the SBS World News accisble via this Link
The ham radio volunteers are expected to continue assisting the disaster recovery effort that could take some time.
- Jim Linton VK3PC, Chairman IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Committee.
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