Natural Hazard Risk
Bosnia and Herzegovina faces earthquakes, droughts, floods, and landslides. The country is particularly vulnerable to extreme precipitation and river basin flooding.
Floods and landslides, despite improved emergency services, are recurring risks. More than 20 percent of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territory prone is prone to flooding, which, on average, annually impact about 100,000 people and about $600 million in gross domestic product (GDP). In 2014, unprecedented rainfall affected 25 percent of the population and severely disrupted the economy, with river floods inundating fields (agriculture employs 20 percent of the workforce) and 81 municipalities. It also triggered more than 3,000 landslides, impacting nearly 15 percent of GDP. The country’s mountainous geography, aging infrastructure, and high urbanization rate compound its seismic, and consequent landslide, vulnerability. A magnitude 6.0 earthquake in 1969 resulted in 14 deaths and over $300 million in damages. GFDRR analysis, based on present-day exposure, estimates the same earthquake would cause over 400 deaths and more than $4 billion in damages.
Climate change is contributing to pronounced rainfall variability and increasing temperatures, which are causing more frequent and intense droughts and increasing the likelihood of floods and landslides. The gradual degradation of water, air, forests, and agricultural land in the country further increases the risk of catastrophic shocks, in addition to putting sustainable economic growth at risk.
Disaster risk management (DRM) continues to be a government priority. The country has focused on developing a DRM legislative and regulatory infrastructure with implementation mechanisms. The Civil Protection Sector within the Ministry of Security, founded in 2004, develops disaster mitigation and rescue plans and programs, and coordinates actors after natural disasters. In 2008, a natural disaster framework law for emergency response came into force, including implementing international obligations on protection and rescue in the aftermath of disasters. The 2008 law recommended a central operations–communication center, which the government opened by 2010.
The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is prioritizing the following:
- Cooperating with regional partners to address climate change and disaster risks;
- Moving away from reactive toward proactive disaster risk management; and,
- Integrating climate and disaster risk considerations into development planning.
Since 2008, GFDRR has supported Bosnia and Herzegovina. In consort with international organizations, GFDRR support began at the regional level to strengthen coordination for weather extremes and natural hazards. The project revealed the cost-effectiveness of a regional approach, especially for costly hydro-meteorological systems.
In response to the devastating floods in 2014, GFDRR supported a recovery needs assessment (RNA), which estimated $2.7 billion in damages and losses and provided a reconstruction and recovery plan. Following the RNA, the World Bank financed a $100 million Flood Emergency Recovery Project, which focused on meeting critical needs and restoring functionality of infrastructure essential for public services and economic recovery. Taken together, more than 100,000 people received emergency assistance to restore livelihoods—including such agricultural goods like seeds, greenhouses, and irrigation equipment—and to rebuild homes. More than 500,000 people benefited from the rehabilitation of local infrastructure.
GFDRR also has supported activities to help Bosnia and Herzegovina better understand its flood and seismic risks. In 2016, GFDRR, together with the World Bank, developed quantitative country risk profiles for Bosnia and Herzegovina and for other European and Central Asian countries to equip government decision-makers with more information about how floods and earthquakes are likely to impact people and the economy.
In 2017, GFDRR began supporting the country to improve its capacity to respond to disasters and to incorporate disaster risk considerations in road network management.
GFDRR anticipates demand from the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the following:
- Strengthening regional collaboration to build resilience at the national and regional levels;
- Enhancing hydro-meteorological services and early warning systems at national and regional levels; and,
- Investing in infrastructure and policies to shield the most vulnerable from natural disasters.