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Severe flooding in Southern and South-Western Romania
Geneva, 12 August 2014
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
Continuous torrential rains have swept southern and south-western Romania during the last week of July, causing the water levels to rise rapidly as of Monday the 28th of July, swelling rivers, flooding homes and churning up roads. Between 28th of July – 1st of August, the quantity of the rain fallen in the calamity regions equaled the average rainfall for 3 months.
Thousands of villagers have fled their homes as flash flood waters and those from the overflowing rivers spread across Southern and South-Western Romania. People were practically running away from the flooded areas with makeshift boats, horse carriages and cars and some scrambled up trees to get away from the rising waters. They had to leave everything at home, all what have left are the clothes they're wearing and what they could save in some plastic handbags. Hundreds more had to leave their dwellings in the next days until waters subside. Thousands of people were accommodated in school buildings, monasteries, hospitals, army tents, sport facilities. Around 1,000 refused to leave their home for fear of looters, but eventually they were evacuated when they realized that their lives were in great danger. Soldiers and civil defense workers scrambled to reinforce dykes and build sandbag barriers.
2. Why is an ACT response needed?
Currently, there is a danger of the increase of water related and water-borne diseases. Local health authorities fear an epidemic that could easily spread after the waters will withdraw: on one hand from the rotten animal carcasses floating on the waters and on the other hand from the inflow of mosquitoes and the stink of sewage coming from the flooded houses.
3. National and international response
The response from the government and state institutions to this emergency was relatively sound and good; however, it is unable to meet all the various needs of the affected population. The Government’s Operative Committee for Emergency and Crisis Situation started urgent distribution of drinking water, food and non-food supplies from the national reserves for those evacuated. People in evacuation camps were receiving blankets, mattresses, canned foods, bread, mineral water, sugar, oil, flour, rain coats, and lamp oil. The Prime Minister has called an emergency meeting and went to inspect the flooded regions.
Appeal has been made by the Ministry of the Interior through the national media to NGO’s and volunteers to help as much as possible to people who have evacuated and also those returning home to the most affected regions.
4. ACT Alliance response
ACT member AIDRom Emergency Unit is having on the field (as of 4th of August) 2 staff members and 4 volunteers divided in 2 teams of 1 staff with 2 volunteer with two transportation units (a 4WD vehicle and trailer and a 4 WD transportation van) covering regions in south and south-western Romania, with a double purpose of carrying out a damage survey linked with a needs assessment, as well as for distributing in the affected areas according to the necessities: water pumps for well cleaning, power generators, drinking water storage tanks and home dehumidifying equipment from its technical resource.
5. Planned activities
AIDRom plans to carry out a needs assessment for an on-going crisis phase intervention through ACT Rapid Response Funds. The greatest needs at these moments are the non-perishable food parcels and drinking water followed by hygiene items and clothing to be distributed among the displaced and those returning home after withdrawal of the waters. Also, there is a high demand for continuous operation of water pumps for well cleaning and drinking water disinfection kits, as well as for home dehumidifying equipment.
AIDRom Emergency Unit wishes to initiate the packing of 200 relief food parcels, with a standard content of non-perishable food and with 15 litres of mineral water, as well as 400 hygiene kits along with 400 clothing parcels to be ready for immediate delivery and distribution within the shortest time based on its (AIDROM) field survey in the coordination with other parties involved in the emergency relief aid (Government, Churches, Red Cross, NGO’s).
Access to the most affected regions is still very difficult at the moment, but local and county authorities are working to re-establish road access to all areas in order to create conditions for humanitarian aid deliveries.
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