Central and Eastern Europe In Brief, 11 Aug 1997

Flooding across Central and Eastern Europe has claimed over 100 lives in the Czech Republic and Poland since the
beginning of July. Evacuation alarms continue in certain localities along the Polish/German border, although some people
have been able to return to their homes in areas where flood waters are receding. As the extent of the damage and
destruction becomes clearer it is evident that the emergency is far from over. With over 200,000 people moved from their
homes, tens of thousands are still living in temporary shelters.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies launched an Emergency Appeal in mid-July,
seeking SFr 6,960,000 to assist 257,000 floods victims.

Since the beginning of the disaster in Poland, 665,835 hectares of arable land have been flooded, of which a quarter are
still under water. Of some 162,500 persons moved from their homes, more than 37,000 are still living in temporary
accommodation. Estimates put the number of houses and flats damaged or destroyed at 46,000 - two thirds of the building
output for 1996. It may take several years to repair 3,172 km of roads damaged by the floods.

As flood waters begin to recede in the 16 affected districts in the Czech Republic, the local populations face new
problems, including a mosquito invasion and the extensive clean-up operation. Some 16,000 people are still
accommodated in provisional shelters, with the duration of their stay remaining unpredictable. The start of the new school
year will be postponed for a number of schools in the flooded areas.

Polish Red Cross action: In cooperation with Flood Relief Commissions, the Polish Red Cross continues to identify the
areas where relief is most urgently required. Beneficiary lists are drawn up with the assistance of local welfare offices and
the National Society's warehouses are being used for the storage and distribution of relief items. Distribution has begun of
12,000 food parcels funded by the European Community Humanitarian Office in response to the International Federation
appeal. The Polish Red Cross is also coordinating the distribution of goods received from the general public and from sister Red Cross Red Crescent Societies in response to the appeal.

Czech Red Cross action: The Czech Red Cross is currently reassessing needs of vulnerable groups as flood waters begin
to recede. The distribution of relief supplies will continue for the remainder of this month (August) at least. The National
Society is also involved in running collective centres for people whose homes were evacuated. These centres will be
needed for some time as the repair and rebuilding of dwellings takes place. The Czech Red Cross has also coordinated
the distribution of 2,100 trucks of relief items collected by Red Cross branches from the general public.