Israeli humanitarian delegations were among the first of foreign aid groups to help rescue efforts in Serbia and Bosnia following record flooding and landslides. The IDF, IsraAid, Lev Echad – Emergency Civilian Aid and Shalem College in Jerusalem responded to a plea from the Serbian government for assistance.

“We believe that mutual responsibility is the first line of defense of society — the reinforcement of weak populations is critical to building the resilience needed to overcome every crisis. We are proud to represent Israel in this mission to help the courageous Serbian people and I believe that the invaluable knowledge and experience that we will gain from this effort will enable us to help other communities in distress around the world,” said Eli Weissbert, chairman of Lev Echad.

The worst rainfall to hit the Balkan region in 120 years killed dozens of people, left thousands homeless and affected more than one million others.

The IDF sent over 1.5 million tons of medical and humanitarian aid to Serbia including shipments of medicine, food, blankets and rain gear.

IsraAID dispatched teams of medical, trauma, and relief professionals to the two European countries.

And the joint Lev Echad – Shalem College delegation is providing specialized training for local volunteers to maximize solutions to the distress in the field and to significantly strengthen civilians so they can cope with the emergency situation that is expected to continue for the next several months.

“The damage wrought by the floods is almost unimaginable in its scale and fury,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “The Jewish tradition commands us to respond generously and compassionately to those in need. We are proud to assist, together with our Israeli partner, IsraAID, in offering a helping hand to the many flood victims in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.”