Update: The previous training events were so successful that the US trainers are now expanding the critical swift water rescue training to another flood prone community in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Your contribution will help us provide exactly what is needed to make this training event in as successful as the last two events!
Bosnia-Herzegovina is a mountainous country located in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. The mountainous terrain channels snow melt and runoff from storms, resulting in significant flooding of low lying areas every year. Most notably, the 2014 floods devastated local infrastructure and communities across the country. Since then, the municipalities have been taking steps to better prepare themselves to respond to future flooding. The US Army civil affairs team deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina is working with local administrations in flood-prone areas to help first responders be better prepared and equipped to conduct swift water rescues.
A little background:
Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1992 following a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. This lead to an armed conflict and partitioning of the republic along ethnic lines that formed the two current entities – Bosniak/Bosnian Croat Federation and Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska – and the semi-autonomous Brčko District. While political and ethnic tensions have continued to divide the country, many communities have made significant progress in healing their war wounds in the 25 years since the conflict. However, even though progress is being made, it will take time to build the emergency response systems back to the level they were before the conflict.
After meeting with the Civil Protection Agency in the multi-ethnic District of Brčko, a US Army civil affairs team identified a need for swift water rescue training and swift water rescue kits for cities that are at the greatest risk of flooding. The team, in partnership with the Special Operations Forces Liaison Element in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was able to provide a block of instruction, consisting of both classroom and practical application portions, to local first responders. The civil affairs team contacted Spirit of America, identifying a need for basic water rescue kits, which include rescue ropes, rescue cans (floating buoys), life jackets, and other essential items. They explained the mobile kits would fill an equipment gap and allow local first responders to rescue flood victims in areas where boats cannot safely reach and where immediate action is paramount to the victim’s survival.
With your support, Spirit of America can provide the exact items that are needed for the local first responders to operationalize the training they will receive and save lives during times of crisis.