independent

Saturday 20 September 2014

Mark comes to aid of Belgrade flood victims

Published 11/06/2014 | 05:22

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A kind-hearted Bray man was so troubled by recent devastating floods in Belgrade that he drove a van full of humanitarian supplies there.

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Mark Keating is from Deepdales and owner of Whitewater treatment company in Sandyford. Mark's wife Vesna is from Belgrade.

They were over there to witness the effects of the worst floods in 120 years which devastated houses, villages, towns and cities.

'There have been over a million people affected in Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia,' said Mark.

The business has a charitable wing called the Whitewater Foundation, and through this they put out an appeal for goods and supplies urgently needed by so many displaced people who have lost their homes, livestock and land.

'We ran out of space in our own warehouse,' explained Liz Nangle of Whitewater. Their neighbouring businesses opened up their doors to help store the goods before shipping.

A further problem they encountered was the cost of shipping. The bill would have run in to thousands until Liz' son Stephen came forward to help.

He has a delivery service based in Bray called Here 2 There Deliveries and Stephen joined Mark on the long drive. The two vans arrived with the much-needed provisions on Sunday.

Before leaving the country from Dublin Port, the vans were packed by staff, family, friends and other volunteers who worked long and hard to help.

While the water has receded in some areas there the floods continue to create havoc in large parts of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Thousands are still waiting to be rescued from their homes, tens of thousands have been evacuated and are staying with families or in shelter.

Whitewater sent 20pallets over on this journey for the Red Cross however the campaign continues and donations as well as trucks are urgently required.

Liz said that the cooperation between the two nations through Mark and Vesna has been truly unprecedented. She added that the response to the appeal was 'astronomical.'

Last year, Mark did a solo cycle from Bray to Belgrade and back and raised €60,000 for three children's hospitals. 20 years before than he volunteered to spend 18 months with the Red Cross, helping to improve the lives of people and children shattered by the war in the former Yugoslavia.

Liz said that Mark's grandfather founded the company, and his son now works there. It is a family business which puts great emphasis on caring.

Three month's worth of rain fell in three days in recent weeks in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. The swollen tributaries of the Sava River made bridges disappear in minutes, while roads and railways were cut within hours.

Supplies needed include baby food, tinned food, clothing, paracetamol, toiletries and more. For more information go to www.whitewaterfoundation.org.

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