Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Minister Djordjevic visits flooded areas in Lucani and Cacak

Defence Minister Zoran Djordjevic with Assistant Minister for Material Resources Nenad Miloradovic and the Chief of the Planning and Development Department of the Serbian Armed Forces Major General Dusan Stojanovic, visited early this morning "Milan Blagojevic" factory in Lucani, where he observed the extent of the damage from the flood wave that struck the municipality last night. During the tour of the factory, the director Rados Milovanovic briefed the Minister about the disastrous flood that damaged mostly administrative buildings and empty warehouses. Water, however, has not withdrawn from the factory site and the danger is also posed by underground streams that the already soaked soil cannot absorb.

After touring the most vulnerable factory plants and observing the extent of inflicted damages, Minister Djordjevic stressed once again that the development of the defence industry is strategic objective of the government.

- The government is committed to the development of the defence industry in Serbia, which has tradition and quality. Therefore, the Ministry of Defence with the Serbian Armed Forces is tasked to assist in repairing the damage caused by the new flood wave that devastated Lucani and the environment, as well as some other parts of Serbia. We have engaged the necessary equipment and manpower; the state will help as much as it can, as well as some other institutions such as the Department for Emergency Situations, the gendarmerie and Srbijavoda company but from the municipal authorities we expect the detailed plans of engagement. Water is fortunately backing up, which does not mean that the danger has been removed. New rainfall has been announced, water remained in the premises of the factory, it is necessary to build channels for draining the underground water. Although a lot has been done since 2014 to reduce the risk of floods, this is something we could not foreseen, Minister Djordjevic stressed.

Pointing out that, given the previous investments in the defence industry and development capacities of the "Milan Blagojevic" factory, the workers, and therefore the citizens of Lucani can hope for better days in the next three years, Director Milovanovic said that flood damages are not likely to exceed 150 000 euros.

- There have been investments in the development of plants and some new contemporary development projects, safety at work has been improved, so that in the forthcoming period we can expect even better results. We will be more competitive than ever, especially in the production of triple base powder and expansive ammunition, the director of the "Milan Blagojevic" factory said.

Thanking for the help of the military, the president of the municipality of Lucani Vesna Stambolic noted that the extent of disaster could not be anticipated. Instead of the announced 40 litters per square meter, 70 litters fell and all the local rivers basins were above the limits provided for emergency measures.

- The mere presence of the military in the field had a positive psychological impact on the already troubled population. In addition, we need several tanks for washing the flooded houses and two large pumps for drawing water. A number of 45 houses were completely destroyed, while about 130 were partially flooded, said the president of the municipality and crisis headquarters Vesna Stambolic.

Director of Srbijavoda Goran Puzovic also spoke about the steps to repair the damage pointing out that without a precise plan of the municipality there is no efficient use of the deployed forces.

- Within all of the steps to remedy the damage caused by the disastrous water waves, what is surprising is passivity of the local population that did not even want to evacuate, and almost none of the villagers decided last night to help soldiers or members of the Gendarmerie, Puzovic said.

After reviewing the situation at the plant Defence Minister Zoran Djordjevic met with the management and trade union representatives.

After touring the "Milan Blagojevic" factory in Lucani, Minister Djordjevic with his associates visited the Company "Sloboda" in Cacak, where he also met with management and the representatives of the trade unions of the factory. He also visited the new fully automated plant for the chemical processing of cartridge case, one of the three most modern such facilities in Europe.

Authorised by President Tomislav Nikolic and upon recommendations of the Government to engage the available capacity, the Minister of Defence Zoran Djordjevic made a decision on the employment of the Serbian Armed Forces to assist the competent local authorities in flooded areas and support of the Ministry of Interior Department for Emergency Situations. Members of the Second Brigade of the Serbian Armed Forces are engaged in Lucani, Cacak, Novi Pazar and Gornji Milanovac.