Help After the Flooding in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Success Story

A catastrophe on this scale was something people in Bosnia and Herzegovina had not imagined was possible. There had not been flooding of this magnitude for more than 120 years. Many people underestimated the scale of the flooding and stayed in their homes, until they finally had to escape onto the roof. And many refused to leave their homes because they remembered losing everything in the Bosnian war of 1992 to 1995. Now the flooding has revived all those painful memories, and for the old people in particular, it has been very hard to see everything destroyed for a second time.Success Story

But Father Simo Marsic, who is in charge of the youth apostolate in the Archdiocese of Sarajevo and who is also the director of the Saint John Paul II Youth Pastoral Center in Sarajevo, can at least report one positive side to the disaster: "It is profoundly moving to see how much people have been brought together by the suffering, whether they are Catholics, Orthodox or Muslims.”

“There was immediately a great and genuine spirit of solidarity among the people, and with no distinction made between the members of the various different ethnic and religious groups, even though 21 years after the end of the war there are still many tensions. But these were forgotten in the face of the flooding.”

“It is thanks to the grace of God that in this difficult situation people were able to overcome the walls that exist between the different ethnic and religious groups."

Father Marsic relates how in one place the statue of a saint had been washed out of a church by the flooding. A Muslim found it in the street and brought it back because he knew that it must have come from a Catholic church. "The adversity has brought people closer together."

But the need is immense. Many houses are still threatened with the danger of landslides, and there is also the danger of epidemics as a result of the carcasses of dead animals. And it has not yet been possible to assess how great the devastation has been in the case of the churches and other Church properties. Certainly, all 40 Catholic parishes in the Archdiocese of Sarajevo had been affected, along with their 60,000 Catholic faithful.

Thanks to your generosity, ACN was able to give $67,700 in emergency aid to the Archdiocese of Sarajevo so far to help it recover and rebuild after this disaster.

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