State to help residents of Krupanj

KRUPANJ - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Monday visited Krupanj, a municipality in western Serbia that has been hard-hit by floods which also killed one resident.

Krupanj is where the situation is the most difficult, because it is now cut off, and residents need all types of assistance, Nikolic told reporters after visiting parts of the municipality where villages have been devastated by the torrential floods.
"A great tragedy has befallen the residents of Krupanj, but they are not alone, and no one in Serbia is alone today," the president said, adding that the government will send the first aid convoy urgently.

The village roads destroyed by landslides and mudslides must be rebuilt first, but homesteads must be provided with the machinery needed for agricultural production, he said.

The condition of agricultural crops must be assessed, especially raspberry plantations, Nikolic said, adding that raspberries are the only source of income for the people living in the area.

The state will help all residents of the local Zmajevac neighborhood to build new homes, but they need to decide whether they want to stay in a settlement situated in a riverbed that has been destroyed by the floods as a result, he said.
"We intended to implement measures aimed at economic recovery but now we are carrying out measures to rescue the population," Nikolic said, urging citizens and businesspeople to help those in danger.

Faced with the floods, Serbia has shown courage, and now, after lives have been saved and people evacuated, a different kind of humaneness and solidarity is needed, he stressed.

The Serbian president said that experts will assess the damage caused by the floods and that a list of priorities will be made for rebuilding and aid for those in danger.

Few countries in the world have been hit by a disaster such as this one, Nikolic said, adding that he expects large amounts of aid to arrive from all over the world.

The floods killed one person in Krupanj, destroying 200 homes and endangering another 500, with 600 people evacuated.

The deluge completely devastated villages, destroying bridges and access roads, and rescue teams arrived as many as three days later as a result.

Nikolic visited Krupanj with his wife Dragica Nikolic, who heads a charity foundation, his son Radomir Nikolic and Minister of Labour and Employment Aleksandar Vulin.