With large parts of Serbia and Bosnia currently facing the largest scale flooding in recorded history, Ball Corporation through its partnership with the Red Cross has earmarked a total of 50,000 Euros in both funds and product in an effort to provide support to locally-based employees and the community at large.
Devastating rains over the course of the last several weeks in Serbia and the surrounding areas have claimed the lives of more than 30 people and required the full scale evacuation of 30,000. The region faces several immediate concerns as a result of the flooding.
- A power plant that produces approximately half of the electricity in Serbia is located in a high-risk flood area (near Belgrade). Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic said that protecting this power plant is “crucial” for the security of the country’s energy supply.
- There are an estimated 120,000 landmines in the area leftover by a previous war, and it is believed many may have been carried away by the floods. Mine action centers (MAC) in the region are investigating the threat of these explosive devices.
- Epidemic outbreaks are a major health concern. With rising temperatures and water contamination, diseases such as typhoid fever and hepatitis may break out. Local authorities are working to ensure the water supply is safe, and to organize sanitation and medical efforts.
While Ball’s Europe production facilities remain intact, employees of the organization have been profoundly affected. “The catastrophe has a direct impact on all our lives,” said David Banjai, Plant Manager at Ball Packaging Europe Belgrade Ltd. “Many employees are engaged in helping relatives and friends, and some of them have lost their homes to the floods. Especially challenged are our colleagues from Obrenovac.” This small town, about 30 kilometers southwest of Belgrade is framed by two rivers: the smaller Kolubara and the bigger Sava and ultimately joins the Danube in Belgrade. Both Kolubara and Sava burst their banks flooding the town completely. “Our chief concern is to ensure that our employees are safe and secure,” said Banjai. “We have put together an emergency fund and every affected employee will receive an emergency package worth 1.000 Euros.” In addition to this, company and colleagues have collected charity donations and are organizing a task force to help their colleagues clean and re-build their homes.
Supporting the community
Ball is closely allied with the Red Cross and through the Ball Foundation has set up a program to provide support for flood victims. In addition to a five million RSD (43,000 Euros) donation, Ball has teamed up with ingredient producer Doehler and filling company Terra Production who together have given more than 50,000 33 cl cans of orange juice to the Red Cross for distribution. “We are hoping that by dispersing this product throughout the community, we will help to relieve some of the hardship that our colleagues and neighbors are facing. We are committed to doing everything we can to help them get back to normal as soon as possible,” said Banjai. Ball employees around the globe are also showing their support by making personal donations directly to the Red Cross. Ball in turn has committed to matching 100 percent of all donations received via this channel.
Ball in Serbia
Though near to the Danube, Ball’s production plant itself is secure. “The Danube has an excellent flood defense so that we are able to serve our clients without any problems,” adds Banjai. The Belgrade plant was established in 2005 and now is the workplace of 190 people. They produce 1.2 billion aluminum cans per year on two lines for the markets of Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Albania, Turkey and Greece.
The Ball Foundation is a Disaster Responder member of the American Red Cross. Through this partnership, the Ball Foundation pledges support before disasters occur and ensures that the Red Cross can respond immediately with the support and supplies needed. This provides great flexibility for the American Red Cross to respond to needs in our communities across the country and around the world
About Ball Corporation
Ball Corporation supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 14,500 people worldwide and reported 2013 sales of $8.5 billion.
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