Local Woman Raises Money for Bosnia Flood Victims

Published 05/19 2014 06:10PM

Updated 05/19 2014 11:49PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - From outside her UVM admissions office, Blanka Nikolic anxiously awaits word from friends and family in flood ravaged Bosnia.

"Overnight between sleeping and getting up, they were just under ten feet of water, and it was just stunning and amazing and it was just really depressing,” she said.

The flooding is the worst there in centuries. Tens of thousands have been evacuated, and more than twenty five are dead in Serbia and Bosnia.

Born in Bosnia, Nikolic lived there for nine years, including during the war. She eventually left, and settled in Vermont. She still has family and close friends living in her hometown just south of Croatia, on the banks of two rivers.

“They have been evacuated. They did a lot of helicopter rescues this weekend. People are being housed in different surrounding towns and different surrounding areas as Bosanski Samac was one of the hardest hit."

The flooding has also caused a series of landslides in the Balkans, and that's a real concern because there's still so many land mines hidden from the wars in the 1990s.

Watching all this from afar is painful for Nikolic. She's trying to help by raising money online to send back to Bosnia.

 "I just really wanted to provide funding for those people because they already have so little to begin with that I wanted to, because I couldn't physically be there, I wanted to supply them with the best help that I could."

One of Nikolic's friends, himself hit by floods, is working to help too.

"Right now the flooding is up to the second floor of his house, so he's actually got a row boat tied to the balcony of his house and he's been doing some rescuing on his own. He had to rescue one of our neighbors."

She hopes to raise $10,000 for blankets, food, and drinking water. Those are items that fifty thousand Bosnians now need.

The Red Cross estimates thousands are still awaiting rescue, even now that the rains have stopped.

To donate, visit this page.

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