period covered: September 1997
Urgent rehabilitation needs are now the focus of National Society response to the victims of the floods, ahead of the cold winter months. Urgent requirements for outstanding household equipment and minor repair and reconstruction material must be covered, to prepare the vulnerable families for winter.
Flooding caused by unseasonal heavy rains across Central and Eastern Europe claimed over 100 lives in the Czech Republic and Poland during July. Due to the scale of the flooding, the total losses and damage to communities, their sources of income and infrastructure are still not known.
Much long term damage may not become
apparent until after the winter and may necessitate the demolition of additional
buildings in 1998. For this reason it is important that minor rehabilitation
and reconstruction initiatives take place now, to prevent more serious
and longer lasting damage in the future. Recent estimates issued by the
Polish government put the figure at 10 billion Zloty (USD 3 billion) for
Poland alone. The construction of houses for those left homeless by the
is continuing, albeit with some delay, and it is expected that 1,900 families in Poland will be relocated before winter. This still however leaves several thousand persons who will be unable to return home.
On 14 July, the International Federation launched an emergency appeal seeking CHF 6,960,000 in cash, kind and services to assist 257,000 victims of the floods in the region. Following the distribution of emergency relief items during the initial phase, the Polish and Czech Red Cross are now focusing on the urgent rehabilitation and minor reconstruction needs of the vulnerable ahead of the harsh winter weather, and are coordinating their activities with relevant government and local authority bodies.