Aiding Bosnia Through Harsh Cold Winters


Within Balkan countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina is a huge need for winter essentials. Already struggling with the aftermath of civil wars, lack of employment opportunities, ongoing corruption and a mass exodus of youth departing for western Europe, the incoming cold season brings forth another layer of dread for Bosnians.

As temperatures drop as low as -30 degrees during the cold winter months, Bosnians are struggling to stay warm amidst a power supply crisis and an uncertain future.

Hiking power source prices cause further distress for struggling Bosnians

Over the past decade, wood pellets, firewood and gas have been popular power sources for heating in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But with the prices of these fuels skyrocketing this year, many Bosnians are switching to the cheaper alternative of electricity, at the risk of overwhelming the country’s power network.

Electricity prices for households in Bosnia are subsidised by the state and are a tenth of international market prices. By contrast, the price of gas has increased nearly 100% since last winter and wood pellets have tripled in price. The rising costs as growing so expensive that entire apartment blocks in large Bosnian cities like Banja Luka have already forgone their usual power source accounts due to high bills.

Photo: Bosnians are struggling with the rising cost of living and are in need of aid.

But Bosnia’s power network is not designed for high electricity consumption by households. Bosnia exports about 25% of its electricity. It is also the Balkans’ sole exporter of electricity, with two-thirds going to neighbours Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.

A massive switch to electrical appliances for heating could bring Bosnian’s power system down and leave neighbouring countries without a steady supply of electricity, as well as hurt their own economy. But with a struggling population and alternative power prices only looking to increase, Bosnia and Herzegovina have few other choices.

Islamic Relief is giving struggling families a fighting chance to deal with the cold weather

As temperatures plummet and the cost of living continues to rise, the poorest families face a particularly desperate winter. Islamic Relief is a lifeline for thousands of families across 17 countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, where Mevlida lives with her 2 children.

“In the war I lost 2 brothers and my father,” says Mevlida, recalling the horrors of the Bosnian War in the 1990s. “I found and buried my brothers, but I never found my father.”

Since her husband died of a heart attack, Mevlida and her children have been living with extended family, but the mother-of-two is unemployed and it is hard to make ends meet.

“My oldest son does some seasonal work and mows grass to earn some money. He is a metal welder, but no one is hiring for that right now. He has tried to get a job as a merchant or waiter, but to no avail. I look after our cow; we have milk and a little cheese.”

“The clothes, shoes and firewood provided by Islamic Relief helped us survive winter”

Life is difficult throughout the year, but in winter the family’s situation becomes even more dire. That’s why, this winter, Islamic Relief aims to reach thousands more families like Mevlida with vital survival items like warm clothes, fuel, and blankets.

Photo: Islamic Relief delivered winter essentials like wood briquettes to keep thousands of families like Mevlida’s warm during the cold weather.

“Winter is always hard for us; the weather is very cold and harsh. There is not much work that can be done to earn money. Everyone is clearing the snow from their doors and their homes. Our expenses are highest during this season, and we cannot earn much.”

The winter survival assistance the family received last year made a difference, Mevlida says.

“Islamic Relief has helped us a lot with packages of clothes, winter shoes, and firewood. This has helped us a lot, thank you so much. I want to thank you for your help, and for helping everyone’s children.”

Help us save lives from the harsh winter cold

We are providing winter survival essentials to vulnerable people in need. Please help vulnerable families like Mevlida’s survive this season: give generously to our Winter Appeal.