Romania

Heavy rains wreak Havoc in Eastern Romania

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15 July 2005, Vatican City - Caritas Romania has alerted the Caritas Confederation to the situation unfolding in its country, in which torrential rains have triggered severe flooding in the eastern region of Moldova. Incessant rains over the last five days have forced rivers to overflow and burst their banks, causing widespread destruction in more than 470 villages, especially in the counties of Bacau, Vrancea, and Galati.

Reports indicate that five people have died, many more are missing, and 10,000 have been evacuated by the army and fire brigades to schools and other public buildings, where essentials, such as water, food, and blankets, are in short supply. Upwards of 11,000 homes have been partially or completely damaged, while harvests have been lost and large swathes of agricultural fields destroyed. Roads and train lines between southern Romania and the Moldova region remain blocked, and some bridges have been swept away. This situation comes close on the heels of the devastating floods that hit the country's Banat region in April of this year.

The diocesan Caritas of Iasi has attempted to visit villages in the counties of Bacau and Vrancea to assess needs. However, the team has been unable to reach all of the intended areas since many roads are still impassable. The team also plans to travel to Galati county soon to survey the damage. Local Caritas workers have already begun providing flood victims with motor pumps to help clean out wells and cellars.

The diocesan Caritas of Iasi, with the support of Caritas Romania, hopes to begin distributing blankets, mattresses, food, and materials for cleaning and disinfecting houses to those in need over the next few days. Caritas Iasi is also working to set up crisis committees in the affected parishes that will be responsible for the distribution of relief items.

Caritas Romania intends to carry out longer-term rehabilitation work in the flood-affected areas and will keep the Caritas network informed of any new developments and needs in the country.