The floods that have affected Serbia in 2014 have shown to which extent the society is vulnerable and helpless when exposed to natural forces. At the time of the emergence of a crisis situation, Caritas Serbia has primarily provided humanitarian assistance to the population in need. In the interaction with the affected population, it has become clear that there is a very low level of knowledge in emergency situations, which was an initial sign for Caritas that it’s necessary to find a way to raise awareness in this respect. Guided by this idea, in 2015 Caritas Serbia started with the implementation of its Disaster risk reduction program. In cooperation with the Public Investment Management Office, the Sector for Emergency Situations and the local administration, numerous activities have been implemented over the past few years, which have contributed to making local communities more resilient to the effects of natural disasters. In order to ensure that the initiated change of consciousness has been completed, broader local population has been involved in all activities.
Since the most vulnerable category of society are children under the age of 10, a great attention has, therefore, been paid to their education and preparation. The Caritas educational set for children consists of posters distributed in primary schools, coloring and picture books, as well as video spots with instructions on how to behave in case of disasters. In these materials for children, fires, floods, earthquakes and storms are treated as the most common disasters on the territory of Serbia and the region. In addition to this, an educational board game named Do not risk it! has been created.
Support for the realization of this program was provided by the member organizations of the Caritas network, primarily Caritas Austria, Caritas Germany and Caritas Slovakia.