Landslide Disaster Risk Management in Bosnia and Herzegovina

What is the project about

 Damage caused by landslides

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is vulnerable to a number of natural hazards such as floods, landslides, droughts, fires and earthquakes. The floods in May 2014, the worst in 120 years, affected a quarter of its territory and showed once again how disaster prone the country is. May floods and landslides caused damages to infrastructure, agriculture, public institutions and the local economy estimated at 1.67 billion USD. Rebuilding what was damaged and revitalizing the livelihoods of one million persons affected have been one of the greatest challenges, reminding that more investment, focus and attention should be paid to prevention and preparedness.

According to the findings of the Recovery Needs Assessment, the floods activated more than 3,000 landslides throughout the country, disrupting livelihoods and causing destruction to more than 2,000 houses which are yet to be fully reconstructed. Approximately 150 landslides directly affected major roads/transportation systems, disrupting economic activities, delivery of humanitarian aid and cutting off a number of communities. Furthermore, 51 reported landslides in suspected mine areas are believed to have led to the movement of minefields. There are still numerous habitable homes located close to landslides that are under constant threat of being activated.

What we do

The project “Landslide Disaster Risk Management in BiH” will strengthen landslide management capacity of partner local governments through tailored technical assistance, training, and improvements of cadasters, and conduct stabilization of landslides with indirect reach to more than 488,000 citizens in target localities. The project works directly with responsible entity institutions and the selected 9 local governments, which were affected by the recent floods and have high-risk landslide sites, that could affect large number of population, disrupt access to services, mobility and hamper livelihoods. The selected local governments are: Doboj (RS), Goražde (FBiH), Maglaj (FBiH), Srebrenik (FBiH), Tuzla (FBiH), Vogošća (FBiH), Zenica (FBiH), Zvornik (RS) and Žepče (FBiH).

Major activities relate to remediation and risk mitigation measures for 10 high-risk landslides (in 9 municipalities) through technical and engineering measures directly positively affecting lives of more than 4,000 people. This will be done through the construction of drainage systems, regulation of the water streams, watershed management, construction of supporting structures and fortifications in solid ground (supstratum).

The project will further support development of first of its kind comprehensive analysis of the existing legal, institutional and policy framework related to landslide management in BiH, to assess the gaps and provide sound recommendations for structural improvements.

In order to improve status of cadasters and based on the findings of the above mentioned study, selected municipalities will receive technical advice, on-the-job assistance, training programme and advancement of management tools for landslide cadasters.

Results so far

Local communities and landslides which will be stabilized have been selected in cooperation with relevant entity institutions and local communities. After nominations, commission site visits were conducted against the following criteria: number of endangered housing units, amount of investment for the stabilization (cost-benefit analysis), existence of technical documentation, possibilities for co-financing, and the possibility of implementation in 12 months.

Call to action

Landslides are a continuous and well known hazard for BiH. The Risk Assessment for Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted by the Council of Ministers of BiH in 2012 registers more than 1,800 active landslides in the country.

The 1992-1995 war caused massive migration of people, linked with illegal construction of houses in sloping living areas, or alongside riverbeds. Furthermore, lack of spatial planning documentation based on geological analysis, large scale deforestation and other unsafe human activities also causes landslide hazards. Sudden snowmelt and intensive and considerable precipitation over a brief period of time are certainly of major importance for the occurrence and intensity of landslide activity.

Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a unified study identifying areas with potential significant landslide risks. In order to make a step forward in this area, the EU Floods Recovery Programme is currently conducting Floods and Landslides Housing Risk Assessment that will integrate Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment and Preliminary Landslide Risk Assessment for Bosnia and Herzegovina, identifying and prioritizing areas that may be subject to both hazards. The Assessment will also integrate the recorded and projected climate changes and will take the new historic maximum water levels recorded in 2014 as the basis for the risks analysis and provide, based on scientific results and cost-estimate benefits, concrete recommendations for disaster risk reduction in these areas.

Who Finances it

Donor name Amount contributed per year
Government of Japan USD 2,940,000
Government of FBiH   
USD 1,200,000

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