By Liljana Meshaj – Sarajevo
B&H these days is still counting victims and damages caused by the floods that have occurred over the past few days. This is definitely the biggest disaster that has hit B&H since the war ended in 1995. More than a third of territory of the country has been flooded. Thousands of people who lost their homes are displaced. Many companies, businesses and the normal life of many people has been destroyed… The assessment is that that negative consequences of this natural disaster will have an impact for the next seven years and the recovery will be difficult despite all the support that other countries are ready to give to assist the reconstruction and recovery of the country.
Unfortunately, this disaster has shown all the shortcomings of Dayton Peace Agreement and the Dayton Constitution. This has shown how slow, complicated and politicized is the set of executive and legislative powers.
The only positive thing in this entire bad situation is the solidarity of all peoples in B&H. Citizens of the bigger entity (Federation of B&H), despite the fact that they have been affected by this disaster, selflessly run to help their fellow citizens in the smaller entity of B&H (Republic of Srpska). Enormous quantity of food, water, first air and other necessities, immediately during the first hours of the disaster left from Federation of B&H towards Republic of Srpska, as well as the first rescue teams. Citizens of the Republic of Srpska remained astounded by the willingness of those that their political leaders portray as enemies that threaten their lives but in fact they were there to help them. Citizens of the Republic of Srpska from various public appearances show how delighted they are and at the same time surprised by positive the +actions of their fellow citizens of the Federation of B&H.
Although political leaders continue with political games and conflicts in order to conceal their non readiness and inertia in the most difficult moments for citizens of entire B&H, citizens with their solidarity have approached each other and their selflessness have putted into assistance and support to those in need. Pictures on the internet and media depict people in horrible situations, who endanger their lives to help and evacuate children and elderly from flooded houses, vehicles and streets.
Furethermore, the government of both entities opened humanitarian accounts for support to citizens of flooded areas, residents of B&H have no confidence in government institutions due to excessive levels of corruption and abuses that have occurred in previous periods. Citizens often decide to buy certain things and to deliver them themselves to the vulnerable areas. Unfortunately, apart from a positive image of solidarity, this also gives the impression of disorganization and anarchy in moments of disaster as in developed countries this would not be the case.
Dayton administrative division of the country prevents the creation of any stable system on the level of B&H that would be able to respond in an organized and systematic way in this and similar disasters. Obviously, B&H depends on human solidarity and the desire of citizens to help each other.