The results of a project for raising public awareness of flood risks and the degree of readiness to respond to floods, and a demonstration of water rescue exercise were presented on Friday at Rafting Club Kanjon in Banja Luka.
The main objective of Project FloodLife is aimed at strengthening the responsibility of civil sector and public in their response to the natural disasters caused by climate change, with a particular emphasis on floods. The Internet portal www.poplave.org and mobile application SOS, promotional materials and education guides for dealing with flooding have been presented.
“Almost every day we see how floods and other natural disasters affect people in the region, in the European Union and worldwide, and this is precisely what reminds us how important it is to have a warning system that is sufficiently fast and efficient. Therefore, Project FloodLife is important because it helps us to prepare for emergencies and flooding,” said EU Special Representative in Bosnia, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark.
“I am optimistic when I see that lessons have been learned and that a great number of services have been included in raising awareness of floods, and we would like to see an even greater cooperation that would also include countries from the region.”
We want everyone to learn at least some basics on how to help oneself and others in the case of flooding
Ambassador Wigemark distributed rescue equipment to the representatives of partner municipalities for local civil protection units in the form of 18 sets of personal equipment and three boats. The European Union invested more than KM100,000 in rescue and communication equipment required by the Training Center and partner municipalities, and the Training Center received KM10,000 worth of professional equipment.
“Through Project FloodLife, the cutting-edge equipment has been procured for a classroom in which civil protection members and volunteers have already been trained, and this is just the beginning, as we plan to strengthen and increase our capacities,” said Aleksandar Pastir of Kanjon.
“We are the first and only Rescue 3 Certified Center in the country, and beyond. Our message to everyone is ‘Come for the Training’ because we want everyone to learn at least some basics on how to help oneself and others in the case of flooding”.
The City of Banja Luka, where Kanjon is located, is a Project FloodLife partner municipality, while the city Department for Civil Protection Affairs and Professional Territorial Fire Units have been included in its implementation from the very beginning.
An aspect that Project FloodLife pays special attention to is the usage of information technologies for the purpose of informing citizens about various types of danger.
The mobile app SOS has been developed through this activity to be used for early warning of dangers, getting information on changes in water levels and warnings from competent services, communication with close persons, sending an appeal for help, as well as communication between volunteers and civil protection officers using the web platform of the app.
Project FloodLife is funded by the European Union in the amount of EUR220,000 and implemented by the NGO Exit Center in cooperation with Rafting Club Kanjon, municipalities of Banja Luka, Čelinac, Oštra Luka and Prijedor, Hydrometeorological Institute of Republika Srpska and Čelinac Development Agency.