Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP and the Vukovar –Srijem County

Nov 3, 2014

photo: floods in May 2014

On the occasion of the International day for Disaster Reduction marked on October 13 –the Memorandum of Understanding on the cooperation in preparation of projects for prevention and protection of people and the environment was signed in the Republic of Croatia 

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Croatia and the Vukovar-Srijem County signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the cooperation in preparation and implementation of the disaster risk reduction projects and activities in Vukovar on October 31. The Memorandum is designed to establish principles for future cooperation in order to prevent disasters and new losses in the county, and further improve disaster prevention activities. 

A joint preparation, education on project preparation and submission of project proposals focused on disaster risk reduction, withdrawal of funding from the European Union, the UN and other available funds, as well as strengthening cooperation with civil society organizations in order to prevent disasters are some of the basis of this cooperation. Also, specific projects will be used to plan disaster risk reduction, human losses and material damages. 

Heavy rainfall that hit Croatia in May 2014 once again emphasized the vulnerability of people and property in the cases of disasters and the importance of rapid response when they occur. Parts of the Vukovar-Srijem County were then especially hard hit; two deaths were recorded, 15 000 people have been evacuated and more than 36 000 people were endangered. Material damages are estimated at more than EUR 297 million.

Considering the fact that more than 50 percent of Croatian territory is below 200 meters above sea level, and heavily influenced by the Sava, Drava and their tributaries, floods in Croatia present a big risk to people, property, cultural heritage and the environment.

„Studies show that due to climate changes the number of natural disasters has doubled in the last 15 years. Therefore, it is of great importance to work on time on the preparation and the risk reduction, because every kuna invested in prevention saves six to eight kunas in the case of disaster,“ emphasized Sandra Vlasic, Head of UNDP in Croatia. 

Božo Galić, Prefect of the Vukovar-Srijem County also highlighted the importance of education and the construction of complete infrastructures to avoid floods as those from May 2014 in future. 

„The multipurpose channel Danube-Sava is one of the projects that beside economic and transport development of the county would also provide flood protection to the residents of the entire region. Also, we should not ignore the positive effects of channel construction on the agriculture, on other future development projects, and on the overall county demographics,” stressed Galic. 

With this cooperation, UNDP supports the Vukovar-Srijem County in its efforts to establish and maintain a modern system of protection and rescue which will be able to respond to all needs for the protection and support in the cases of disasters, accidents and emergency situations. 

Within the project „Immediate response to the 2014 floods in Croatia“ UNDP has provided to the Vukovar-Srijem County, and project partners – the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC), the National Protection and Rescue Directorate and the Croatian National Institute of Public Health funds in the amount of HRK 180.000 to carry out its activities in the field. The funds were used for replacing the damaged minefield warning signs with new ones, the fight against mosquitoes and the overall coordination among project partners on the ground.