EU Political and Security Committee opened the “Prva Elementary School” in Maglaj, rehabilitated within the EU Floods Recovery Programme

The Political and Security Committee (PSC) of the European Union accompanied by Dr Renzo Daviddi, Chargé d’Affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited Maglaj today. During the visit, PSC Chairman, Ambassador Walter Stevens, officially opened the “Prva Elementary School” in Maglaj together with its Director Admir Gracic. Prva Elementary School suffered extensive damage during the May floods and was rehabilitated within the EU Floods Recovery Programme, financed by the European Union.

Visit by the PSC members to Maglaj was the final stop during their two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The PSC meets at ambassadorial level as a preparatory body for the Council of the EU. It monitors the international situation in the areas covered by the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU. It plays a central role in the formulation and definition of the European Union’s Foreign Policy.

Maglaj was one of the municipalities hardest hit by the floods in May 2014, and therefore it is one of the main beneficiaries of the EU Floods Recovery Programme. The total projected investment for Maglaj under the Programme is at present 3,389,236 EUR (6,609,012 KM). So far, rehabilitation works have been completed in two school buildings and one kindergarten as well as 20 priority private dwellings in Maglaj, and works are ongoing in 4 public facilities and some 40 priority housing units. Approximately 15,000 people, directly and indirectly, benefit from EU-financed flood recovery interventions in Maglaj.

PSC Chairman, Ambassador Walter Stevens stated the following during the visit: “We came here today to meet with you, who have been so badly affected by the floods. We – the 28 ambassador of the EU Member States, representatives of the European Commission and the Council of the European Union – strongly wanted to visit Maglaj to show our solidarity and that of the EU citizens. We wanted to express that the EU stands ready to support you in reconstruction, not only of infrastructure but also in bringing daily life back to normal. We are glad to see the reconstruction taking shape – it’s important for example that the effect on the school year has been limited as much as possible. Houses and communal infrastructure are being built with our assistance. Much still remains to be done and we and the citizens of the EU will continue to stand with the people of the area and in the future.

The entire ground floor of the Prva Elementary School was destroyed in the floods, as well as the school’s sports hall. The total EU investment for the School rehabilitation was 286,000 EUR (559,540 KM), which included electricity refitting, new heating system, new sanitary systems, new flooring, joinery replacement, refurbishing of walls and thermo-insulated façade; furniture, didactic materials and cabinets.

Director of the Prva Elementary School, Admir Gračić, thanked the EU for the post-flood assistance and for the funds used to rehabilitate the school. “The joy of our children, but also of us, grown-ups, is great, as now we have excellent conditions for work. The school is nicer and warm. Now we have new windows and doors, new floors, new central heating system and new furniture. For this we will today give you a modest gift of our gratitude: the joyful children’s programme, full of games, song and happiness,” said director Gračić.

The EU Floods Recovery Programme was launched in August 2014 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 are being utilised to restore public services and infrastructure, rehabilitate housing units for the most vulnerable people, and for social and economic recovery of local communities. The value of the overall programme is 43.52 million, of which 42.24 million is provided by the European Union.

Dr. Renzo Daviddi, Charge d’Affaires of the EU Delegation to BiH stated the following during the visit to Maglaj: “We are very pleased with the progress achieved so far under the EU’s Flood Recovery Programme, which we see first-hand today in Maglaj. The whole team continues to work hard to make a difference and results are being delivered to the people affected by the floods. It is clear, however, that huge work remains to be done to fully repair the damages caused by the floods, particularly in regard to providing housing rehabilitation support, and to avoid such catastrophes in the future by strengthening flood resilience. Both are key challenges for the BiH authorities in the months ahead and they can be assured of the EU’s active support to what has to be a collective effort.”

The EU’s assistance under the Floods Recovery Programme is a part of the funds that the European Union pledged to at the Donor conference in Brussels in July. Activities are focused on rehabilitation of 4,000 housing units for approximately 14,000 residents, key public services and infrastructure (including schools, medical facilities, water supply and sewer, and smaller roads and bridges) in 50 municipalities, as well as providing assistance to retain and generate around 2,000 jobs in flood-affected areas. Beneficiary selection is based on the Recovery Needs Assessment and public calls, with special emphasis on the most vulnerable population categories, such as the elderly, families with children and persons with special needs.

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).

See photos of the school before and after the reconstruction here:

For more information, visit the EU Floods Recovery Programme feature page