Remarks at Press Conference on U.S. Government Assistance to Kraljevo, January 27, 2011
Mr. Mayor, representatives of the Red Cross of Serbia, it is a pleasure to be with you in Kraljevo today and I would like to thank the Mayor for the cordial welcome we have received here. I am very excited to be here working with you to advance Kraljevo’s recovery.
The earthquake that hit your town was a tragic event; its impact was felt across Serbia. My deepest condolences go out to the people of Kraljevo, especially to those who lost their closest ones, people who were injured, and to all whose homes were destroyed or damaged. We can’t control nature, but we can and must be prepared for disaster when it strikes.
Today, I am happy to announce that the Office of Defense Cooperation and the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, in coordination with USAID, is providing $365,000 in assistance to victims of the Kraljevo earthquake. This bulk of this assistance is non-food items, including cold weather clothing. These 20 Tons, or 40 thousand pounds of jackets, parkas, sleeping bags, cots, cold weather hats, and heaters will help people get through the winter. This equipment to assist with the recovery is now in the process of clearing customs and will begin arriving next week.
I am also happy to announce the US Government’s donation to Kraljevo of 600 house repair kits, which include tools to complete light repairs, valued at $30,000. Each kit contains; 4 gallons of paint, painting tools, bags of plaster and glue, wall insulation, and much more including all the protective equipment needed. These kits should help people repair basic damage to structures and allow those affected to pass the winter in their own homes.
The third donation entails four computers worth a total of $2,000 for the Secondary School for Economy and Trade in Kraljevo. This donation comes from the American people and will be donated to Red Cross of Serbia.
Our aim is to support the recovery efforts that the Government intends to implement through the winter months so that Kraljevo and its people can become regain their lives again in the shortest time possible.
I want to join you in congratulating the leaders of Kraljevo, and the hundreds of volunteers that came from all over Serbia, for the hard work they did to provide essential services to those affected and begin to rebuild. The U.S. Embassy is glad for the opportunity to join you in the area’s recovery.
I am joining the Mayor and Red Cross of Serbia representatives and visit some of the sites affected by the earthquakes. I will meet the people of Kraljevo and see first-hand how our cooperation will help return to normal lives.
Thank you Mr. Mayor for that opportunity, and thank you for your attention.