The flooded town of Obrenovac, 40 kilometers west of Belgrade, is seen May 19. (Alexa Stankovic / Getty Images)
Relief supplies from U.S. European Command have started to arrive in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are coping with record flooding, a EUCOM spokesman told Military Times.
About 25 U.S. service members in Bosnia will help distribute the five truckloads of supplies, said Air Force Lt. Col. David Westover. The State Department has not asked the U.S. military to help with local search and rescue efforts, which are ending.
The relief supplies from Camp Darby in Livorno, Italy, will be delivered tonight and on Wednesday, defense officials said. The shipment includes 15 water pumps, about 30,000 sandbags, seven generators, bedding, utensils, tools, wet weather gear, heaters, fuel cans and water.
The roughly 26 tons of supplies are worth about $750,000, said Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez. Separately, the U.S. Agency for International Development has provided $50,000 to the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina and $100,000 to the Red Cross of Serbia for similar supplies.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Bill Nash, who commanded the 1st Armored Division when it deployed to Bosnia in 1995, said the U.S. assistance to the region is “particularly poignant” in light of the U.S. commitment to the Balkans in the 1990s.
“I think it’s perfectly appropriate for the United States to react,” Nash told Military Times on Tuesday. “I hope five trucks is enough and I don’t know how they’re going to get in there but it seems to be they ought to get in there pretty quickly.”
For Nash, news of the flooding in Bosnia was troubling on a personal level.
“I was particularly concerned because I assumed that people I knew or their children were affected by these circumstances,” he said. “I obviously said a prayer for them was looking for what kind of assistance we’d provide.”