Every spring, due to the melting of the snow, the water level of the rivers rises, and floods cause damage. The biggest floods in Serbia were recorded in May 2014, when dozens of human victims were recorded. Fortunately, since then, a tragedy of such proportions has not happened again, due to investments in coastal forts, pumps, riverbed maintenance, etc. – in Svilajnec, Paraćin, Obrenovac, Valjevo, Surčin, Mačva…

Specifically, since the May floods in 2014, the European Union has invested more than 170 million euros in Serbia for recovery from this disaster, but also for the prevention of future floods in coordination with Serbian partners: the Sector for Emergency Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Hydrometeorological Institute, firefighters-rescuers, army,  “Srbijavode”, Directorate for Water at the Ministry of Water Management…

Since then Serbia have significantly improved capacities as an active member of the EU Civil protection Mechanism. Over the last few years, Serbian firefighters and specialised rescue teams were activated through the EUCPM in several disaster scenarios such as the earthquake disaster in Turkey, Syria, or the frequent forest fires in Greece.

The cooperation continues, so that the preparedness for potential floods, but also fires, earthquakes, landslides – would be at the highest level. That is why there is a training of all involved institutions in the civil protection process being held in Serbia during this week.

Exercises on civil protection modules  (MODEX) aim to better prepare EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) response capacities and experts for international deployment. Also, the idea is to improve coordination by improving compatibility and interoperability between teams of experts from different EU Member Sates and participating Countries.

MODEX exercises give the opportunity to practice, test and improve preparedness, with a particular focus on coordination, self-sufficiency, interoperability, standard operating procedures, communication and reporting, security and language skills.

This MODEX exercise in Serbia is based on a scenario similar to the 2014. floods, and focuses on the coordination of EUCPM teams of experts for post-disaster analysis and reccomendations. The Sector for Emergency Management is a key actor in the exercise, coordinating the misison of the experts and contributing to develop the EUCPM capacities for preparednesss, response and disater risk management.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in emergency response, preparation and prevention between Member States, as well as several other European countries. Serbia became a member of the Mechanism in 2015, but even before that, during the devastating floods in May 2014, Serbia felt the benefits of European solidarity through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. This operation has been one of the largest since the Mechanism was established.

The support of the European Union to civil protection in Serbia is worth more than 250 million euros for the period from 2014 until today, and only for the recovery from floods and prevention of future ones, the EU has invested 170 million euros in non-refundable aid.