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Photograph: Freeimages.com/Maria Ujvari

The minister in charge of refugees in the government of the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska, Davor Cordas, on Thursday signed agreements on post-war housing reconstruction with 33 Croat families from the areas of Brod and Derventa, whose houses will be the first ones to be rebuilt as part of a regional housing scheme, the Bosnian Serb ministry said.

Nine families from Brod, which before the 1992-95 war was called Bosanski Brod, and 24 from Derventa will be provided with housing and the value of the construction work, to be completed in the next three months, is around EUR 670,000, it was said at a ceremony in Banja Luka, at which the agreements were signed.

Cordas said that the regional housing scheme envisaged the construction of 5,400 housing units in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that 1,864 family homes would be rebuilt by the end of 2017.

"This is a donor programme, and donations for Bosnia and Herzegovina are expected to amount to EUR 100 million, with partial funding from national authorities," said Cordas.

Slavko Karlovic, a returnee to Derventa, said that he was grateful primarily to Cordas, who launched the initiative and was truly doing his best to ensure the return of Croats to the Posavina region.

The regional housing scheme was launched four years ago after a donor conference designed to help solve housing problems of the remaining refugees and displaced people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

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