ACT Alliance Rapid Response Fund Payment for relief support to people affected by flooding in Southern and South Western Romania

by Elisabeth Gouel | | ACT Alliance - Switzerland
Friday, 15 August 2014 11:30 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Rapid Response Fund Payment Request No. 12/2014

Funds Sent To: Ecumenical Association of Churches in Romania - AIDRom    
Amount Sent: USD 47,473

Date: 14 August 2014    

Details of Response

Emergency: Relief support to people affected by flooding in Southern and South Western Romania

Date of Emergency: 28 July – 02 August 2014

ACT Requesting Member: Ecumenical Association of Churches in Romania - AIDRom


Continuous torrential rains have swept southern and south-western Romania during the week of 28th – 30th of July, causing massive damages in 10 counties situated in the south and south-western parts of Romania. Rains continued until next Sunday morning, causing further damage to private and public buildings, roads, communal infrastructure, electric and telephone lines, drinking water pipe lines, water channel systems, flooding 30,000 hectares of farmland. Between the 28th of July – 1st of August, the quantity of the rains equaled the average rainfall for three months; events which happen once in every 200 years.

Thousands of villagers fled their homes as Southern and South-Western Romania experienced the floods. People were practically fleeing in makeshift boats, horse carriages and cars, and some climbed up on trees to avoid being swept away. They had to leave everything behind. What they have left are the clothes they're wearing and whatever they could salvage in some plastic bags.

Thousands of displaced people were accommodated in schools, monasteries, hospitals, army tents, sport facilities and so forth. Around 1,000 refused to leave their homes for fear of looters. However these 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.  In some areas the waters had soaked dams and embankments, and it was impossible to use heavy equipment such as bulldozers to stop the waters.
Across the affected regions more than 2,000 equipped emergency workers have been deployed to take part in search and rescue operations, evacuations, stopping the churning waters, mounting sandbags dikes along the main rivers among other tasks.  A further 4,600 fire fighters are on standby to clear access roads.

The worst affected are mostly people living in poverty. The media is bringing lots of attention to desperate cases of people who have no access to potable water, food, medicines and electricity.
There is also a danger of an increase in water-borne diseases. Local health authorities fear an epidemic that could easily spread on one hand from the rotten animal carcasses floating on the waters and on the other from mosquitoes, and sewage coming from flooded houses. Village shops do not see a possibility to restock and to open soon.

Local and county authorities are working to re-open roads in order to create conditions for humanitarian aid deliveries foreseen in the upcoming days. Some people are returning to their homes.  This is very dangerous as damaged public utilities and houses are a hazard to human life. People are eager to return to their homes, both to evaluate the damages, and to begin rehabilitation.

For the full text and budget of the response, please click here.