Floods in Serbia: children in the collective centers under threat

Photo credit: EC/ECHO

Source: The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia – MODS

The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia – MODS welcomes the efforts of

the responsible institutions and many volunteers who were engaged in providing assistance to the residents of the areas affected by the floods. Many efforts have been made in order to help a lot of people, provide them accommodation and protection in a very short period of time.

At this point, however, new challenges are rising and it is important to protect all vulnerable families and children from additional traumas. MODS and its partners are concerned about the general conditions in some of the collective centers where a large number of people are currently situated. In the collective center at the Belgrade Fair, 350 people are still residing, including 70 children. From the beginning of the evacuation until this day, they were provided only with conserved food, which means that a large number of children residing there disn’t have a proper nutrition since three weeks. For them, at least one cooked meal daily would be very important at this point.

Another reason of concern is the rapid displacement of people and children from collective centers and their relocation, often in dilapidated and inhabitable buildings. Although accommodation in this situations requires significant efforts from the relevant authorities, the whole process has to be done more carefully and responsibly, having in mind the physical and mental health of people living there. An example of such poor conditioned facilities might be seen in the barracks of Krnjaca and Makis, and old military base in Obrenovac. Inadequate accommodation and unhygienic conditions represent a high risk for the general health and the proper development of children.

Therefore, MODS urges all relevant public authorities to pay particular attention to the issue of equal treatment of all vulnerable persons and to provide and ensure equal conditions for every child so they could continue living in a healthy and safe environment.

In order to reduce uncertainty among the people in need for adequate support, especially those living in collective centers, we are asking the city of Belgrade and other local authorities to share the information about the persons responsible for coordination, planning and provision of support for families affected by the floods and to inform the general public who is in charge for accommodation of children from Obrenovac.

In this time of crisis, the solidarity and humanity of all citizens was shown and we believe that in the reconstruction process of all flooded areas, we need the same solidarity and humanity.

The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia – MODS calls all national bodies and institutions, local self-governments, organizations and institutions to offer their assistance and help to all the citizens affected by the floods, thus respecting the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Fundamental Freedoms and anti-discrimination law. We believe it is extremely important to preserve the fundamental values ​​of a society based on respect for children’s rights, human and minority rights.