A farewell parade was held today to thank EUFOR’s three Reserve Companies for their participation in JOINT EFFORT, the name given to the flood-related disaster relief work conducted with Armed Forces BiH.
Slovenia, Austria and the United Kingdom each contributed approximately 120 troops, who were originally deployed to BiH to take part in Exercise Quick Response 14. However due to the devastating flooding, the main effort of both EUFOR and Armed Forces BiH changed to conducting flood-related disaster relief.
Tasking included removing debris and waste from homes and businesses, transporting aid, disinfecting buildings and streets and reconstructing roads in the north of the country. This activity demonstrated the ‘double use’ of modern Armed Forces, acting in a humanitarian role as well as being a military instrument.
The parade was held at Armed Forces BiH base, Dubrave, Tuzla, to say farewell and thank you to the troops. It was attended by Commander EUFOR, Major General Dieter Heidecker, the Minister of Defence, Mr Zekerijah Osmic, and Chief of Joint Staff Armed Forces BiH, Major General Anto Jelec.
Major General Heidecker took the opportunity to thank the Reserve Companies for their hard work but stressed that the EUFOR work is not yet over.
“While we say goodbye to the Intermediate Reserve Companies today, this is by no means the end of EUFOR’s involvement. Our remaining EUFOR troops will continue to assist in the flood-related disaster relief work, and EUFOR will continue our capacity building and training programme with the Armed Forces of BiH.”
Major General Heidecker also praised the Armed Forces of BiH for their efforts, saying that he was delighted to see how Armed Forces BiH responded quickly and rose to the challenge.
EUFOR will also now conduct assessments of lessons identified and lessons learned together with Armed Forces BiH, so that they can build on the successes of JOINT EFFORT. Thorough analysis will ensure that the Armed Forces continue to respond quickly and efficiently to any future disaster to assist the population most effectively.