Medals Awarded for Heroes on the WaterJun 28, 2014
During the gathering of rafters in Banja Luka on 28 June, medals for bravery and certificates for outstanding contribution in rescue and support in combating floods were awarded to more than 50 clubs and organisations, who had been evacuating locals, transporting water, food, medicines and other necessary aid to the flood-affected population over a number of days and under the most challenging conditions.
In addition to medals, Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the World Rafting Federation also presented certificates of appreciation to prominent individuals for their support and assistance activities in rescue and combating floods. Among other, certificates were also handed to representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Embassy of Japan and the Coca Cola company, considering that over hundreds of rafters in the past 8 years had been trained as rafting guides and water rescuers thanks to generous donations of these agencies.
“Special thanks goes to USAID, UNDP, the Government of Republika Srpska, the City of Banja Luka and all ministries that have contributed to the training of guide rescuers. The World Rafting Federation has decided to award medals for bravery for the first time in the history. It is exactly these people who thanks to their humanity and sacrifice have demonstrated how much of heroes they are on the water. Names of rafters along with the names of individuals awarded will now become a part of the rafting history”, said Aleksandar Pastir, President of the Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the UNDP representatives with certificates of appreciation for their outstanding contribution to the development of rafting, river and environmental protection, as well as promotion and encouragement to sustainable development through tourism, and everyday support and help in addressing the natural disaster which hit the country last month.
“Today we gathered to extend our gratitude to individuals and organisations that have generously invested their resources. UNDP and USAID have supported rafting clubs through projects for tourism and environmental protection, and thus developed capacities in clubs that proved to be instrumental during the floods in saving lives and property. Recent floods have stressed the need to strengthen the rescue system in emergency situations and the need to implement adaptation measures to climate changes, already evident in our country”, said Goran Vukmir, Head of the UNDP Banja Luka Regional Office.
“I am honoured to be in the presence of brave people such as members of the rafting clubs who took part in rescue activities in recent floods. The U.S. government above all values courage, solidarity and sacrifice for others”, said Tomas Rojas, Head of the Economic Division of the USAID Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In addition to award ceremony for medals and bravery, the second Adventure Fair in Banja Luka was opened as a continuation of the Clean Vrbas project, implemented by UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina thanks to donor funding from USAID and the Government of Japan.