Hungary: Extreme winter conditions - DREF operation n° MDRHU001

Situation Report
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CHF 178,068 has been allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Hungarian Red Cross Society by the replenishment of their own emergency stocks already distributed to some 15,000 beneficiaries. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: The suddenly returning severe winter weather in March paralysed almost half of Hungary between 14th and 16th March 2013. Authorities issued red alert for seven counties, and orange alert for many others, on 14th March due to continuous snowfall and snowstorms. Several thousands of people got stranded on the highways M1 and M7 due to the deep snow and the strong winds that caused snowdrifts and blockages. About 100,000 households in 98 settlements remained without electric power supply for several days. Hungarian Red Cross staff and volunteers were immediately on the scene, assisting those trapped on the highways and public shelters and those in the blackout areas with blankets, hot tea and food, first aid and psycho-social support. The Red Cross has been part of the joint rescue effort by the Hungarian police, the military forces, the National Ambulance Service and the National Disaster Management Directorate. During the snowstorm operation, the existing stocks of the Hungarian Red Cross in terms of emergency items have been depleted. Spring floods and inundations are not to be excluded when the accumulated deep snow layers melt.

The needs in the Hungarian Red Cross are related to the replenishment of the already distributed goods (6,000 blankets and 15,000 food rations).

This operation is expected to be implemented over two months, and will therefore be completed by 19th May 2013; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation, by 19th August 2013.