What Torontonians are doing to help victims of the Balkan floods
TORONTO – A large group from the Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian community have been working around the clock since Saturday sorting through donations of clothes, food, water, toiletries and baby supplies.
In the basement of the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Mississauga, there is hope for the victims of the Balkan floods.
“We have people coming in, and they don’t know what to do and they come here crying and they want to help and they want to give back,” volunteer Natasha Jelenic said.
Many of the volunteers have loved ones in the impacted areas. Neven Vujinovic’s mother flew to Bosnia a few weeks ago.
“Where she is right now, most of the city is flooded. So the roads are blocked off,” he said.
“I’m doing what everyone would want to do. It feels good to help the motherland.”
Government officials say three months of rain fell in just three days leaving homes and entire towns are under water.
WATCH: In just a few days, the region has been battered with the equivalent of three months worth of rain. And the rising waters have triggered thousands of landslides and adding to the danger, the many landmines that were left over from the region’s war in the 1990’s. Mike Le Couteur reports.
Flooding in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, has forced half a million people from their homes and left more than three dozen dead.
But more than 2,000 landslides have hampered rescue efforts.
Aleksandra Guculj is a first generation Serbian-Canadian and has family and friends in the impacted areas.
“You have the children, and you have a large population of the older people who can’t do anything. And that’s why we have to help,” Guculj said.
Guculj has been following the news coverage since the flooding began and said it hasn’t been covered the way similar disasters have.
“This is a disaster,” she said.
“Serbia called for a state of emergency almost immediately after it happened. But no one was covering it.”
WATCH: Video shows a bridge being washed away by the strong current of the Bosna River, a tributary of the Sava, on May 15.
Guculj’s brother Sasha Guculj, is behind the organization Hamilton Youth Flood Relief and heads the 28 Jun organization in the Hamilton region.
She says their hope is that these organizations will bring more awareness and help to the Balkan regions.
“I’m Canadian born. I grew up here. We’re known to be helpful in times of need,” Guculj said.
Donations are still being accepted. Guculj said the items needed most are diapers, hygienic products, towels and shoes.
Donation drop off locations have been set up in Mississauga, Hamilton and Kitchener.
Relief organizers are now talking to airline and cargo companies to get the donations transported.
The Canadian Red Cross announced Tuesday afternoon it is accepting donations to help those affected by the flooding in Serbia and Bosnia.