On Monday, March 19th 2018, a Kick off Conference and Press Conference for the project Safe&Green was organized in Foča Ustikolina. Over 200 attendees were present at the event, including government officials from both entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and from the Republic of Serbia, representatives of religious communities, police, army, as well as the representatives of the project partners. The project aims at providing simple, innovative, and environmentally desirable solutions for flood protection and prevention in 5 municipalities linked by common problems and joint vision, as stated in its title.
European Union has provided majority of the funds for the project worth over 1 million Euros. The Project is a part of the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Serbia-Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is to be implemented jointly by five municipalities: Novo Goražde, Požega, Foča-Ustikolina, Čajniče, and Arilje.
During the Conference, representatives of the participating municipalities have spoken of their problems and potential solutions the project is providing:
Mayor of Ustikolina, Zijad Kunovac, said “Our goal is to clear the riverbed of the Drina river and to provide easier flow from the torrential watercourses; and regarding landsides, we plan to plant willows which should prevent further erosion in the future“.
Požega Municipality Assistant Mayor, Duško Đorđević, said “We will solve the problem we have for years with one torrential watercourse by clearing it in the length of 400 meters. This will help more than a dozen households and industrial objects situated on the riverbanks“.
Mayor of Čajniče, Goran Karadžić, said „In our municipality we will undertake activities to clear the water source Vrelo and adjoining riverbeds. We will place flood barriers that are created according to the latest EU standard in the flood protection“.
Mayor of Novo Goražde, Mila Petković shared the following “In 2010 we have had around 100 houses flooded. This project plans to protect one third of the households in a way it is done in the European Union”.
The plan is for the project to last for two years. Upon its completion participating municipalities should have had their most critical watercourses cleared and fast growing willows planted in order to prevent landslides. The objects that were previously endangered by the floods will have modern barriers installed that should protect them from future floods, and the municipalities should have had developed flood vulnerability maps with clearly marked critical points that can help them in future planning in the area of flood prevention and protection.