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Flooding in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia destroys four Adventist churches

Region-wide flooding is worst in 120 years; diaspora, others sending relief

Flooding in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia destroys four Adventist churches

This image, taken on taken Sunday, May 18, 2014, and made available by the Bosnia Army, shows an aerial view of the flooded area near the Bosnian town of Brcko along the river Sava, 200 kilometers north of Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Three months’ worth of rain fell on the Balkan region in three days, producing the worst floods since rainfall measurements began 120 years ago. (Associated Press Photo/Bosnia Army)

Four Seventh-day Adventist Church buildings and the homes of 20 Adventist families were destroyed as rainwaters flooded Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia last week. In response, expatriates from those countries and other Adventists are contributing to the financial support of relief efforts.

The worst flooding in the region—based on 120 years of record keeping—has killed at least 40 people and displaced hundreds of thousands, the BBC reported. Bosnian officials say more than 25 percent of the population is without drinking water.

Flooding destroyed Adventist Church buildings in Paraćin and Svilajnac in Serbia and in Trnjaci and Doboj in Bosnia, said Igor Bosnić, Communication director for the Church’s South-East European Union Conference, based in Belgrade, Serbia.

In the Doboj Adventist Church, Bible Worker Josef Taši and his wife Marina fled to their attic to escape on May 15, where they waited for eight hours to be rescuced by boat. They lost all their possessions.

In Šabac, 20 students and professors from Belgrade Theological Seminary joined a group of 6,000 volunteers to build a shield of sand bags along the River Sava, said Dragan Grujičić, principal of the seminary. The team built a 23 kilometers wall on the night of May 17.

Youth of the Belgrade churches also joined volunteers to help fill bags with sand and distribute food.

Pastor Miroslav Gagić reported that church members in Sremska Mitrovica held a short worship on Saturday before the men went to work at the banks of the River Sava. Women cooked and distributed food to volunteers.

ADRA Serbia and ADRA Croatia have initiated collection of food, drinking water and clothes for people who have had to leave their homes.

“We have to help people in their difficult times. We should not forget them even once the water is gone,” said Zlatko Musija, president of the Adventist Church’s Adriatic Union, which includes Croatia.

Djordje Trajkovski, president of the South-East European Union Conference, which includes Serbia and Bosnia, thanked expatriate churches in Stuttgart, Germany and Chicago, United States, for sending aid. He also thanked expatriate churches in Australia and other countries have also offered to provide support, Trajkovski said.

“I am deeply grateful to all people of good will who were willing to help us in this difficult situation…” he said. “We will make sure that all the help in goods and money will reach people who lost their possessions.”

Those interested in offering further assistance and helping rebuild homes in the region may contact ADRA-TE director Steve Cooper at [email protected]