In the Spring and
early Summer, and largely unnoticed by the world's media, the central and
eastern areas of Romania suffered their worst floods for 50 years. The following
summary is taken from a press release from the Romanian embassy in London, and
gives some idea of the magnitude of this disaster:
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with the second half of April 2005, Romania has successively been hit by severe
waves of floods. Initially affecting the south-western part of the country, the
high floods have extended to the south and, with unprecedented force, to the
south and north-east.
to government sources, the results of the disaster sum up as follows:
31 counties affected
608 localities affected
17,144 houses flooded
8,379 houses damaged
18,715 household annexes damaged
11,425 persons evacuated
153,585 ha agricultural land destroyed
433 km national and county roads destroyed
1,187 km communal roads destroyed
1,683 bridges and footbridges destroyed
16,857 water wells flooded
12,000 cattle/domestic animals drowned
84 localities cut from electricity/gas/telephone/water supply
93 social objectives affected
hundreds of km of railway tracks destroyed
12 localities (villages and communes) isolated
possible means of emergency assistance have been taken up by the Romanian State
and Government, including the engagement of the police, gendarmerie and army
forces. Evaluating the magnitude of the calamity, 31 counties have been affected
out of the total of 41, of which 4 highly severely.
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Throughout the summer
the Romanian national TV stations have been running footage of the flooding, as
part of an appeal for help for the victims. The dramatic pictures showed water
up to the eaves level of houses and people camping on railway embankments as the
only dry places left.
During April we were
offered seventy aid boxes, intended for tsunami victims but which had missed the
boat to Sri Lanka. They had been prepared by the Rotary Clubs around Dorchester.
We were able to take them, not realising that they would indeed give help to the
victims of flooding, albeit in a different continent from that intended. After communications
to the area had been re-established we were able to start sending some of the
boxes to the victims of the flooding in the Galati area, together with a supply
of tinned food from our warehouse. Below, a grateful recipient.
In late August, the
rain came again, this time to the area where we work. There have been a
lot of people asking for help, either to repair damaged housing or to replace
property which has been lost due to localised flooding.