Tuesday Mar 05, 201312:10 AM GMT
Bosnians hold funeral for town after unemployment hits 80%
Bosnians hold banners reading "We are hungry, we want jobs" and "We want our salaries" and "Low, true and justice" in front of the municipality building in the town of Drvar on March 4, 2013.
Bosnians hold banners reading "We are hungry, we want jobs" and "We want our salaries" and "Low, true and justice" in front of the municipality building in the town of Drvar on March 4, 2013.Bosnians enter the Orthodox church in Drvar to light candles during a ceremony to symbolically lay the town to rest on March 4, 2013.
Bosnians hold banners reading "We are hungry, we want jobs" and "We want our salaries" and "Low, true and justice" in front of the municipality building in the town of Drvar on March 4, 2013.
Tue Mar 5, 2013 12:4AM
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The citizens of a town in western Bosnia-Herzegovina have held a funeral for their municipality, where the global financial crisis has brought hard times and the unemployment rate just hit 80 percent.


On Monday, about 200 residents of the town of Drvar -- situated 400 kilometers (248 miles) west of Sarajevo -- attended the mock funeral, lit candles in the local Serbian Orthodox church for the soul of their hometown, and carried an obituary poster reading "Town of Drvar 1883 - 2013," The Associated Press reported.

Drvar Mayor Stevica Lukac appeared at the symbolic funeral but urged the crowd not to lose hope.

At the gathering, 45-year-old Vesna Ulaga, said her family is suffering significant financial hardship and expects their electricity and water to be cut off shortly due to unpaid bills.

Two months ago, the last company in Drvar shut down and laid off its employees. The incident sent the town's unemployment rate to 80 percent.

"With the last 300 people being laid off, Drvar's backbone has been broken. This symbolic funeral should serve as an eye-opener for the regional authorities," said union official Mico Rakic. "They must see that these people have nothing to eat."

According to the government statistics agency, 96,000 Bosnians joined the ranks of the jobless over the last year, bringing the country's unemployment rate to over 44 percent in February 2013.

The economic situation is so bleak that even employed Bosnians can only cover less than half of their essential living costs with their salaries.

According to a recent UN survey, three out of four young people in Bosnia-Herzegovina don't have a job, and over a half of them would leave the country forever if they had the chance.

MP/HGL
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