By 1lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
First published in
SFOR Informer #98, October 11, 2000
- The soldiers of the Finnish construction platoon are welcomed as
dear friends and guests of honour. So are Lt. Martina Lindquist and
her team-mates from the NORPOL CIMIC. They have given the citizens
of Korace a new road, which makes it possible for 48 families to move
back to their homes. To show their appreciation, all were invited
"The road is only 1.8 km long, but opens up an area in the Croat
village of Korace which has been locked out since 1992. Forty-eight
families lived in this area. Most of them want to move back,"
Together with Danish Capt. Michael Ljungberg and Finnish Capt. Antti
Peuralahti, they make up Team 6 of the NORPOL Brigade Civil Military
Co-operation (CIMIC). They monitor Brod municipality, where the warfront
heavily marked the villages about. During the war, all of Korace's
520 houses where completely destroyed. Now, families are starting
to clean and rebuild their homes, helped by SFOR and several international
organisations. The 48 houses, now accessible because of the new road,
have been isolated since 1992.
busloads of returnees have come to inspect their homes, so it seems
the word is out about the new road," said Lindquist. It was the
returnees themselves who started constructing the road. They collected
money among themselves to hire two trucks and an excavator. They got
free gravel from a river near by.
"When we saw this initiative, we were very keen on speeding up
the process. The trouble for them was to get the machines," said
The Finnish construction platoon used eight days to finish the road.
you, we wouldn't be here if you weren't here with us. We are really
grateful," said Ahto Golemovic. The spokesperson for the village,
and several other villagers, served lunch and drinks to the Finnish
constructors and the CIMIC representatives. They also gave a tour
through the area, now opened because of the new road. Families were
in full swing cleaning their homes.
"This area would have been forgotten if SFOR didn't build the
road. Our families have lived in this part for at least 200 years.
After the war, it looked like Hiroshima," said Golemovic.
Another villager, Ivo Jerkovic, says they now are starting to feel
better about the situation.
"But many are still to scared to move back. Some are afraid they
will die merely by the shock of seeing their destroyed homes,"
"But although Korace is in the Republika Srpska, this is were
we have our properties, and this is were we want to live. We will
do everything we can to rebuild our village, but we still hope the
international community will help us in this process," said Golemovic.
Nations of SFOR: Finland