Moldova: Extreme winter conditions, Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA), DREF n° MDRMD006

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Precarious meteorological conditions, abundant snow, low temperatures 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 is extreme, with most of snow falling in the central and northern part of the Republic. The Government announced code of danger “yellow” in the country. On 11-12 January the roads were closed for any movement, but after 24 hours cleaned and opened again. 14 communities in 5 districts were left without electricity for one day. Low temperatures were registered (-5 to -11 Co ).

Low temperatures in Moldova have been registered until the end of January. On the 20th of January several regions of the country were affected by the icy rain, which covered all the roads in 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 are unable to afford the costs of heating and are concerned that additional costs associated with heating will indebt them further. Out of 5,460 affected people, 2,912 need Red Cross assistance. These are mainly older people, people with disabilities or people with very low income in their families. Because of their poverty1, they can’t afford to heat the houses as the heating costs are very high. With the limited income, people prefer to spend money on food or for medicines rather than on heating or electricity put them at risk of developing illnesses and further exacerbating their difficult situation.

Summary of the current response

Overview of Host National Society.

Moldova RC has about 100,000 members, 16 branches, about 800 active volunteers. All the activities are coordinated from the HQ. Frozen conflict in Transnistria contributes to a sustained and persistent vulnerability of large sections of the population. However, with the divided country, Red Cross still stays united – Moldova RC has access to the vulnerable population on both sides of Dniester river.

Staff and volunteers of the Moldova Red Cross have started collection of clothes and footwear. Donations from the local population made it possible to distribute used clothes to 210 people. Moldova Red Cross has also addressed DeFacto clothes company with the request to provide warm clothes and footwear as in-kind donations. Already 56 volunteers are involved in the provision of support to those affected. Moldova Red Cross is planning to recruit more volunteers for the operation, thus the total number of the volunteers involved will reach 110 people.

Overview of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement in country

The IFRC Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) for Russia, Belarus and Moldova is cooperating closely with the National Society’s leadership and disaster management staff at the HQ level in assessing the needs and the response to the cold wave situation. The IFRC CCST is also in contact with the partners within the Movement and external partners to attract possible support, including expertise. ICRC supports MRC from their regional office in Moscow.

Since the beginning of 2018 the ICRC support to the MRC focuses on dissemination of humanitarian values in two branches of Beltsi and Benderi.

The Norwegian RC is supporting a twinning cooperation with three branches of MRC. The Austrian RC does not have an established programmatic cooperation with the Moldova RC but are partnering with a local NGO through the Provoice project. Swiss RC is present in country but so far without a programmatic support to the NS. The Turkish Red Crescent provides in-kind support to the vulnerable people living in Moldova – mainly distribution of food parcels is organized in cooperation with the Turkish Embassy in Moldova and Moldova Red Cross.

Overview of non-RCRC actors in country

The overall coordination of the response to unfavourable winter conditions rests with the Civil Protection and Emergency Situations Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. 445 staff of emergency service and 141 rescue vehicles were used to help those stranded on roads. The state institutions and the service of the emergency situations carried out road cleaning works and cleared up access ways to shops, medical institutions. State Services have helped homeless people, who were hosted in Placement Centres, and offered hot food.