FACT SHEET: USAID Flood Response in Bosnia and Herzegovina (PROJECT COMPLETED)

The Challenge

The heaviest rainfall in recorded history caused widespread floods and some 2,000 landslides across Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in May 2014, destroying everything in their path and affecting one-quarter of the country’s population. Bridges, roads and other infrastructure were damaged extensively. Some 80,000 homes were lost or damaged. Businesses and farms incurred minor to total losses of crops and animals, places of business, inventories, equipment and machinery, and most businesses were still not functioning three months later. Damages and losses are estimated at more than $2 billion. New flooding in early August was a setback to recovery efforts, and in some areas was more damaging than the May floods.

Our Program

The U.S. Government, primarily through the USAID Flood Recovery Initiative, has committed a total $15 million to provide for immediate humanitarian needs, including rescue boats, and help citizens rebuild their lives, rehabilitate community infrastructure, restart businesses and restore agricultural production. Most of USAID’s flood recovery activities are focused on the worst-affected municipalities of Doboj, Maglaj and Samac. 

To deliver assistance during the recovery phase, USAID redirected activities of its main projects toward flood recovery and created new partnerships, as well. Among these activities, the USAID-Sida FARMA Project helped to restore agricultural productivity and income of flood-affected farmers in 25 municipalities, and to reconnect rural communities and markets. 

Through June 2015, the FIRMA Project* disbursed $1.7 million in small grants to help flood-affected small businesses restart operations, retain employees, and maintain their place in the market. FIRMA also helped companies apply to banks, government, and international financial institutions to obtain loans for lost equipment. USAID allocated an additional $2 million each to FIRMA and FARMA for flood recovery, and was able to enhance this assistance by negotiating additional funds from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

In addition, USAID and partner Catholic Relief Services* rebuilt key infrastructure in Maglaj, Doboj, Doboj Jug, Šamac, and Domaljevac-Šamac. Through Save the Children*, USAID provided emergency relief items and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance to 16,140 flood-affected families. USAID partner Mercy Corps* provided small cash grants to 5,000 micro-entrepreneurs and small-holder farmers in remote flood-affected villages. 

The total includes $300,000 secured to ensure transparency and accountability of every dollar spent. USAID is working directly with civil society and citizens to enable them to monitor flood recovery efforts and spending.


  • FARMA: USAID $2 million, Sida $1 million 
  • FIRMA: USAID $2 million, Sida $650,000 
  • CRS: $4 million 
  • Save the Children: $200,000 
  • Mercy Corps: $700,000 

Implementation and Results 

The U.S. Government provided more than $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, including 26 rescue boats in the first 24 hours of the emergency declaration, which saved hundreds of lives.

Within months, USAID had committed more than $100,000 to farmers in Doboj, Samac and Bratunac. We helped renovate the veterinary facility of Samac, and have provided a grant to a small dairy farmers co-op in Bratunac. We helped 26 dairy farmers in Samac, who lost 339 (one-third) of their dairy cows and all planted and stored animal feed, to re-cultivate and re-plant 84 hectares of land, and an association in Doboj so it can deliver technical assistance to some 5,000 flood-affected farmers in the area. We assisted 14 women farmers in Bratunac replace or repair greenhouses and irrigation systems to restore production of vegetables, their sole source of income.

We launched three “quick-start” infrastructure projects to renovate the Veterinary Station in Šamac, renovate the Bare–Kostajnica Bridge in Doboj, and reconstruct a major road in Maglaj. Physical work will begin in September. We have provided hygiene and personal protection packets to thousands of families, and provided restart funds to 5,000 micro-entrepreneurs. Separately, USAID delivered four truckloads of furniture and equipment to a flood-affected elementary school in Zepce and the Srebrenica Peace Camp.

To ensure radical transparency of its Flood Recovery Initiative, USAID created an interactive online map (www.brana.ba) to allow citizens to monitor the progress of USAID’s flood recovery projects on a daily basis. 

USAID Flood Recovery Initiative Results

  • 8,978 jobs saved and 50 new jobs created (farm and non-farm jobs)
  • 2,855 seasonal jobs sustained
  • 70 companies from flood-affected areas will directly benefit from USAID assistance
  • 3,338 farmers and agricultural cooperatives restore production 
  • 262 local businesses regain access to community infrastructure damaged in the floods (bridges, water supply and electricity)
  • 45 flood-damaged community infrastructure projects completed
  • 30 out of 150 homes constructed for vulnerable families in flood-affected areas (all homes to be completed by May 2016)