ABU DHABI // More than 100 UAE residents gathered at the Bosnian embassy in Abu Dhabi to donate aid for flood victims in their home country.
From nappies to medicine and water pumps, the aid is expected to be flown to Sarajevo and Banja Luka airports later this week.
“A lot of us went through the war in 1992 in Bosnia where there was a lot of destruction, so we moved to other countries,” said Damir Kartal, a Bosnian resident of Dubai.
“Only two decades ago, Bosnia went through devastation. So we just rebuilt the country and now this happened. So much damage was caused literally overnight.”
A dozen submersible water pumps and water-pressure machines were donated.
“A lot of houses are still under water,” he said. “A lot of cleaning needs to happen and a lot of sanitary products need to be purchased. This is what we’re focusing on because right now, the people need essential goods.”
He said some canned foods would also be sent.
“It’s mostly things for children and essential needs for people to continue to live their lives as normal as possible,” Mr Kartal said.
“A lot of people are unable to go back to their homes. It rained again on Saturday and Sunday so there’s a danger of mudslides and houses are literally moving.”
Edina Kamenjas, another Bosnian in Dubai, said people were struggling more now than immediately after the war 20 years ago.
“Considering that a quarter of the population is directly affected, you’re looking at infrastructure costs of about US$3.8 billion (Dh13.95bn) over the next two to three years,” she said. “These people barely get $300 a month on an average salary... and the cost of living is very expensive, so this is what’s driving me.”
She said if residents in the GCC united, that would encourage others around the world to donate.
“If we’re taking two steps forward for the right cause, then we can actually help maybe 100 families,” she said. “We have at least 50,000 houses directly affected. A lot of land mines went into the river. There’s so much to do and we should do something.”
Aleksandar Dragicevic, the Bosnian ambassador to the UAE, said there were plans for more donation dinners in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this week. “I’m very proud of what the residents have done and we hope to send it as soon as possible with the Red Crescent.”