Eastern Europe: World Vision responds to freezing weather needs in Romania and Albania
As harsh winter conditions continue to choke many parts of Eastern Europe, World Vision is responding to keep vulnerable children and families safe in poverty-affected communities where it serves. World Vision Romania operates in seven counties across the country, five of which are heavily affected by the snow and freezing temperatures.
“World Vision Romania is making efforts to support over 500 vulnerable families — totalling more than 1,100 children from five snow-affected counties. Food, blankets, warm clothing and shoes will be distributed as soon as possible. According to the information we have at this point, children are not in immediate danger, but if the situation escalates, we need to make sure they stay warm and have enough food," said Eugene Borlea, Emergencies Relief Manager for World Vision 's office in Romania.
Borlea reported that some 250 communities have been affected so far, and another 1,400 schools are likely to be closed, in addition to the 1,200 which have already been closed.
In Albania, World Vision is helping families that are in extremely vulnerable situations. In the north, where more than one meter of snow fell over the weekend, World Vision is working with the government to clear roads to access isolated villages and has given food to a handful of families who had no access to food for days. Schools are closed in many parts of northern Albania.
In southern Albania, World Vision has supplied two health centres with heaters, and assisted more than 20 vulnerable families with food and a few others with wood for heating. In one extreme case, local staff found a home for a family of four who had been surviving in a tent with no heat or food, and very little clothing. Schools in the south are open, but only for short days.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the situation has not been as deadly, World Vision staff are closely monitoring developments, despite its office being forced to close today.
“We have assessed the situation, [and] found that in all communities we work in, families are safe and have enough food, water and other supplies to get through this period. The only hindrance is transportation and accessibility that have also affected our national office. We will continue to monitor the situation until accessibility to communities is provided again," said Hans Bederski, National Director of World Vision in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In Kosovo all schools have been closed until the weather turns warmer. Cold weather is also affecting Azerbaijan and the World Vision office there is closing as needed. World Vision will continue to monitor the situation in the communities it works in across the region to ensure that children and the most vulnerable remain safe in this continued cold snap.