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$210 million needed now for Bosnia floods: UN
by Staff Writers
United Nations, United States (AFP) June 09, 2014


Brazil floods kill nine
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) June 09, 2014 - Flooding caused by torrential rains over the weekend has killed at least nine people and left three missing in southern Brazil, officials said Monday, declaring an emergency in 77 towns.

The flood-hit areas include the state of Parana, whose capital, Curitiba, is one of the 12 host cities for the World Cup, which opens Thursday.

The worst-affected areas however are located around 300 kilometers (185 miles) from Curitiba.

More than 55,000 people's homes were flooded in the 77 towns where Parana Governor Beto Richa declared a state of emergency.

Richa announced six million reais ($2.6 million) in emergency aid to help victims and to restore water and electricity supplies.

President Dilma Rousseff promised via Twitter to get "all necessary support" to victims.

The celebrated Iguazu waterfalls, some of the largest in the world, saw 30 times their normal volume Monday because of the rains -- 47.5 million liters (12.5 million gallons) per second, said state power company Copel.

The national park around the falls, which border Argentina, has closed footbridges and suspended boat tours for safety reasons.

In the neighboring state of Santa Catarina, 24 cities were flooded and at least 16,000 people affected.

The Itajai Acu river was 10 meters (33 feet) higher than normal, and nine roads were closed.

And in Rio Grande do Sul state, the rains caused a 70-meter road cave-in that swallowed two cars. The passengers escaped with light injuries, news website G1 reported.

The United Nations estimates it will cost $210 million to cover immediate priority needs for the next six months in Bosnia, alone, after devastating floods hit the region, an official said Monday.

UN Development Programme official Cihan Sultanoglu said immediate needs include shelter, food, water, health and agriculture supplies, medicine, debris removal and mine clearance.

She said 800 square kilometers (308 square miles) of flood-affected areas are suspected to contain mines and unexploded ordinance, making the clean-up operation costly, difficult and lengthy.

More than 75,000 homes are estimated to have been damaged and up to 2,000 destroyed, and 60,000 children affected, she said.

"In light of the onset of colder winter conditions only four, five months away, there is indeed an immediate need to begin the work required to ensure that people have safe and liveable homes and adequate shelter," she said.

Sultanoglu singled out a need to prioritize the repair of education facilities before the school term resumes on September 1.

"The UN's initial estimate of the costs to cover the immediate priority needs during the first six months is approximately $210 million, and again I am only referring to Bosnia Herzegovina," she said.

Mid- to long-term costs are expected to be much higher but have yet to be assessed fully, she said.

She told the meeting at UN headquarters in New York that 15,000 jobs have been lost temporarily or permanently according to preliminary reports, and that economic losses could exceed $1.3 billion.

UNDP has already received $1.2 million for two projects on mine clearance and debris clearance, she said.

"The challenges ahead are many, but they are not insurmountable if we act collectively," she said.

Torrential rains hit Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia in mid-May, killing 77 people in the worst floods and landslides in more than a century.

Bosnian authorities have warned against the danger of landmines left over from the Bosnian war of the 1990s, which may have been dislodged by flood water and landslides.

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