Rehabilitation of Riverbeds Prevents Floods and DamagesMar 9, 2016
The heavy rainfall in late March and beginning of April 2014 caused floods to many municipalities in Kosovo, especially the municipality of Leposaviq/ć. In May 2014 the Mayor of Leposaviq/ć contacted UNDP with a request for support. Through its Kosovo Disaster Risk Reduction Initiative (KDRRI) project, UNDP Kosovo responded positively and started implementing early recovery activities.
One of the main activities was rehabilitation of the Soçanica/Sočanica riverbed which flooded the village by the same name and caused tremendous damage to the agricultural land and endangered traffic/communication between villages of municipality of Leposaviq/ć.
The emergency interventions took place from June to November 2014 and recovery activities were implemented based on the Local Post Disaster Needs Assessment (LPDNA) report that was conducted specifically for this area. Interventions included: rehabilitation of the 50 meter riverbed of Soçanica/Sočanica river, equipping the municipality of Leposaviq/ć firefighting unit with tools needed for emergency management, providing basic emergency tools for all public buildings, and developing the LPDNA and Early recovery framework action plan.
Moreover, after every heavy rainfall, villagers of Banjska in the municipality of Zveçan/Zvečan, had to deal with the same problem. The river that goes through the village blocked access to the primary school of Banjska. In order to prevent the flooding, UNDP constructed a 85 meters long retaining wall and rehabilitated the riverbed paying special attention to the length close to the school. These infrastructural projects prevented the river from flooding in the future and enabled a safe access to school even during heavy rain falls.
In early January and March of this year, most regions of Kosovo, yet again, experienced heavy rainfall which caused floods and damage to several municipalities. Three rivers that were rehabilitated in 2014 and 2015 by UNDP did not cause any flood related damages.
UNDP would like to stress that according to Post Disaster Needs Assessment reports causes of the floods in Kosovo remain similar:
1. heavy rainfall
2. clogging up riverbeds by solid waste and construction debris
3. lack of elementary protective measures
UNDP Kosovo wants to emphasize the importance of investing in prevention and when doing recovery implement the concept of “building back better” promoted by the Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction (2015-2030) which is a global framework for DRR activities.