Balkan community to aid flood victims

Fundraiser at Karma on Monday to aid victims

Cayman’s Balkan community is rallying to provide aid to families and friends affected by the worst period of flooding in the region’s history. 

Heavy rain hand landslides have destroyed homes and schools and left entire villages under water in Bosnia and Serbia.  

So far, 49 people have died and a half-million people have been displaced, while large swathes of both countries have been left without access to clean water. 

The cost of the recovery effort is expected to run to billions of dollars, exceeding the devastation caused by the war that ravaged the region in the early 1990s. 

People from the region living in Cayman are trying to raise funds to help. An auction and raffle will be held at Karma restaurant and bar in Camana Bay on Monday from 7 p.m. 

The aim is to raise money that will go directly to friends and family members of Cayman’s Balkan community who have been personally affected by the floods. 

Jasmin Muratagic, a bartender at Fidel Murphy’s who is one of the organizers of Monday’s event, said, “We want the money to go directly to families that we know have lost homes, businesses, property. 

“This will make a difference hopefully for 40 families that need it most.” 

He said his best friend was in Doboj – one of the areas that had been hit hardest. “They have been through the worst of the worst. Every house got flooded. It was like Hurricane Ivan times 20.” 

Boris Djordic, who works at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, said his cousins had been evacuated from Obrenovac, a suburb of Belgrade that was badly hit. 

“They have been dispersed around the country. Some of them came to my home town to stay with my family. They are waiting now to see what they are going to do; their homes have gone.” 

Brigita Memet, who works at Karma, said the small former Yugoslav community in Cayman had come together to organize Monday’s fundraiser at the Camana Bay venue. She said they had raised raffle prizes and items to auction through their workplaces in Cayman.  

“We are going to have a happy hour and try to make a happy event and raise some money, even though it is not a happy situation,” she said. 

Natasa Vulovic, who works at Rock Gorgeous Hair and is another one of the organizers, said they hoped to hold a future event to show exactly where the money raised had been spent. 

“We all know people that need help and they are not all getting access to international aid. We are waiting to see the amount collected and then we will be able to make decisions about who we are able to help.” 

Anyone interested in helping can call Jasmin Muratagic on 326-4714. 

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Natasa Vulovic and Jasmin Muratagic have friends in their homelands of Serbia and Bosnia who have been affected by the flooding. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER.

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Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, Serbia, was among the places badly in last week’s severe flooding. – PHOTO: AP
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