EU launches post-flood housing rehabilitation in the Alžirac settlement in Šamac

A house in Alzirac after reconstruction
A house in Alzirac after reconstruction

The rehabilitation works on 28 priority dwellings in the Šamac neighbourhood of Alžirac have been launched this week as part of the European Union Floods Recovery Programme. These EU-funded rehabilitation works mark the beginning of housing repair works in this neighbourhood.

Highlights

  • Works on 28 priority dwellings started in Alzirac settlement
  • Most of the houses in Alžirac were built in 1961 as prefabricated barracks with frail structures, due to which the extent of damage caused by the floods was enormous.

 
“We have received numerous promises from various institutions and organisations since May 2014. I stopped counting the visits we have hosted in the past five months for potential donors, with no real results,” says 60-year-old Netka Džordžić who lives in Alžirac with her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. “Now that the European Union has become involved with the rehabilitation of our homes we are certain that there will be results. We are all gathered here to help the workers with cleaning up as needed,” added her daughter-in-law Slavica.

 
The Džordžić family is one of the 28 families in Alžirac whose possessions were washed away by the floodwaters in May and whose homes remained under water for 10 days. Most of the houses in Alžirac were built in 1961 as prefabricated barracks with frail structures, due to which the extent of damage caused by the floods was enormous. “The poor building quality and shape of the houses resemble the barracks built for soldiers in Algeria, hence the name of the neighbourhood ("Algerian"). As far as I can remember, these are among the oldest houses in Šamac,” explains 61-year-old Ilija Nijemčević.

  
The floods caused extensive additional hardship for the families of Alžirac who were already among the most vulnerable people in the region. "Families needing social assistance with either low or no income live in Alžirac. I receive 67 KM of pension as a war invalid, while my wife receives nothing. We can barely make ends meet, let alone reconstruct the house on our own,” says Nijemčević.

 
For the past five months, the families of Alžirac have been scattered around the Šamac region, living with relatives, friends or in various alternative accommodation facilities set up by the municipal authorities. Now they are all eagerly waiting to return home. The contractor implementing the EU-funded works in Alžirac is confident that the families will be able to return to their homes within the next 4 weeks. “Our top priority is repairing the roofs to protect the interiors and to allow refurbishing of floors and walls. We are planning to replace all doors and windows, and install a new facade to all units. We also plan to clean up the external sewage pipes and pave the courtyards,” says Rifat Hadžismajlović, the construction site manager.

 
The EU-funded rehabilitation works launched earlier in October on 30 additional dwellings across the Šamac area are already close to completion, bringing the total number of dwellings currently being rehabilitated with EU assistance in the area to 58. On a broader scale, the first phase of the EU Programme's housing component targets 650 priority dwellings across the flooded areas in BiH. So far, works on 29 housing units have been completed already while works on 321 units continue. Furthermore, the selection of additional 300 units for rehabilitation works is nearly finalised.

 
”The assistance to the families in Alžirac in Šamac demonstrate how our thorough research and numerous field visits result in effective and targeted use of EU funds, benefitting directly those who need assistance the most. Also the reports s we are receiving from other construction sites are encouraging, as the works are proceeding according to anticipated schedules,” says Andy McGuffie, Spokesperson of the EU Delegation to BiH and Special Representative. 


The EU Flood Recovery Programme: The Programme was launched to restore normal living conditions in local communities and ensure that the aid reaches the most vulnerable ones in the aftermath of floods in May. Funds will be used to restore public services and infrastructure, reconstruct housing units for the most vulnerable people, and for social and economic recovery of local communities. The value of the overall programme was 43.52 million, of which 42.24 million were provided by the European Union. The programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). 

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