Belgrade, 22-5-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti has pledged the Bank’s support to help deal with devastating floods in Serbia as part of a wider response to the disaster that extends to all affected countries.
In a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic in Belgrade on Wednesday, Sir Suma said that responding to the crisis in the region was a major priority for the EBRD.
The Bank is aiming to swiftly reallocate existing funding in the Balkans so that it can be used to help finance immediate flood relief action.
It will place a priority on the rehabilitation of damaged roads and water systems as well as damaged power stations and transmission and distribution networks.
It also aims to respond rapidly to the immediate needs of any of the EBRD’s corporate partners in the private sector whose activities have been harmed by the flooding.
“One particular area that should not be neglected is agriculture and agribusiness,” Sir Suma said. “Obviously, many farms have been very badly hit, fields have been flooded, animals drowned, crops damaged.”
In addition to providing finance to help the farming sector, the EBRD will also place an important emphasis on working with authorities to develop improved flood protection systems and help reduce the risk of such widespread damage in the future.
“We will do as much as we can to help this region… The first thing is to have a good sense of needs in terms of reconstruction,” Sir Suma said during his visit on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the region, EBRD officials were holding similar discussions with the authorities to help establish quickly areas where the EBRD’s financing can be put to most effective use.
The EBRD will ensure that its activities are closely coordinated with other International Financial Institutions.
Speaking in Sarajevo, Libor Krkoska, the Head of the EBRD’s Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “We are ready to move swiftly and step up our activities independently and together with other IFIs.”
Meanwhile, in Zagreb the EBRD’s Country Director for Croatia, Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, met the Minister of Agriculture Tihomir Jakovina, whose department is coordinating the government’s response to the crisis. The Croatian cabinet of ministers is convening for an emergency session today in Zupanja, the town closest to the flooded areas.
President Chakrabarti was on a scheduled visit to Belgrade during which he also met Minister of Finance Lazar Krstic, Minister of Economy Dusan Vujovic, National Bank Governor Jorgovanka Tabakovic, the Mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali and representatives of the business community.
He will conclude his visit with a meeting with President Tomislav Nikolic on Friday.
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