Description of the disaster
Precarious meteorological conditions, abundant snow, low temperatures (-5 to -11 C°) were registered between 11 and 12 January 2019 on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. The level of snow throughout the country reached 30 – 190 mm, which was extreme, with most of snow falling in the central and northern part of the Republic. The Government announced “yellow” code of danger in the country. On 11-12 January the roads were closed for any movement, but after 24 hours, they were cleaned and opened again. 14 communities in 5 districts were left without electricity for one day.
Low temperatures in Moldova continued until the end of January. On 20January several regions of the country were affected by freezing rain, which covered all the roads in ice and snow. It is reported that in total 5,460 people were affected by the disaster. Many people with limited physical mobility and living alone were blocked in their houses limiting their ability to purchase required items, including food. Due to the lower than normal temperatures the housing condition proved to not be adequate to keep households warm. The most vulnerable were unable to afford the costs of heating and were concerned that additional costs associated with heating would indebt them further. Out of 5,460 affected people, 2,912 needed Red Cross assistance. These were mainly older people, people with disabilities or people with very low income in their families. Because of their poverty, they could not afford to heat the houses as the heating costs were very high. With the limited income, people preferred to spend money on food or medicines rather than on heating or electricity, which put them at risk of developing illnesses and further exacerbating their difficult situation.