Solidarity in adversity

How did you spend your weekend? 

I hope you rested with your loved ones. For many of my peers and the people of Serbia and Bosnia the weekend was a struggle with life and death.

The biggest floods in our region over the last 120 years inflicted a death toll of 37 people

According to some sources tens and thousands of people have been evacuated because of the floods but the actual number of people gets closer to 200,000 if you consider those who left their homes by their own means.

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In the face of these challenges I have witnessed incredible solidarity between people in the Balkans. Volunteers have crammed into buses from all over the region to build damns in the worst affected areas, provide victims with support and mobilise people to donate money.  50 major companies from Serbia donated money and resources: meals, rescue equipment, boats, boots and clothes, bedding. 

The reaction of the international community has also been astounding. International rescue teams from Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Belarus are at the forefront. These rescue efforts have been supported by dozens more countries and organisations including the  UN and World Food Programme. Institutions regardless of affiliation and geopolitics join in every minute.

Superstars Boris Becker, Novak Djokovic, Christian Ronaldo, Bily Idol led by example and invited all to contribute as much as they can. Novak even donated his winnings from the Rome Open to victims of the flooding in Serbia.

How can YOU can help?

Several ideas to contribute are:

Crowd source: both platforms or fundraising in person can help greatly
If 20 people in your community donate 5 dollars this will replace an oven for a family. 
- Bank account for foreign donations  01-504619-100193230-000000-0000 
- PayPal 

Organise an event in your community
Bring people together for a fundraising event like my colleagues at Oxford will on 23 May

Raise sponsorship
Run, bungee jump, sky dive or do anything crazy to raise money from your community.

Share this blog or write your own
It can be about the floods you witnessed or what you heard about from your Balkan friends. Harness the power of social media! Authentic stories, photos and videos will help major media agencies, as well. Read this portal in 5 languages: Help Flooded Serbia.

This blog invites all of you to: #SupportSerbiaandBosnia. From Twitter to crowdsourcing and UN volunteering to charity events.  If we work together and keep connected we can overcome anything.

Photos: Sydney Morning Herald, Beyond The Baseline, British Council Serbia, private archive