Romania: Disaster mitigation - key to World Vision's future work with flood-affected communities

News and Press Release
Originally published
by Magda Camanaru - Communications

World Vision Romania will use a US$500,000 grant from USAID to set up disaster mitigation plans in Olt, Timis and Vrancea, three of the counties worst affected by this year's massive floods.

One-hundred-and-fifty houses affected by damp and mould will also be repaired and sanitised.

In addition, 200 families from these counties will receive food over the next three months and will receive material support to survive the harsh impending winter.

In Nanesti village, Vrancea County, World Vision Romania staff have convened two meetings with local authorities and community members to create a local initiative group that will select families who will both benefit from and be responsible from implementing the plan.

After several discussions and debates, community members selected six members to form the initiative group, comprising local and informal leaders of the community and future project beneficiaries.

"The idea is to make people responsible with the way USAID money is spent over the coming months. World Vision believes that when people are responsible for running project activities they become more careful about the way money is spent. It will be, in fact, the seeds of a community development program that World Vision Romania will plant over the next six months," said Eugen Borlea, team leader for World Vision's Relief Intervention team.

Members of the newly created initiative group showed real interest in the selection process. "We think it is best that project beneficiaries be involved in the selection process. This will ensure the success of the project and will help the community better overcome the difficult times we're experiencing now and in the coming three months," declared one of the community members selected for the initiative group in Nanesti Village.

World Vision provided initiative group members with questionnaires to help select project beneficiaries and expects to have a more detailed picture by mid November.

Community members will also benefit from relief training organised through the USAID project, which with project activities will contribute to a Best Practice manual on relief and disaster mitigation and help communities be better prepared to face natural disaster situations.

The assessments conducted so far in the communities where World Vision responded after the floods reveal that most of the affected families now live with a friend or relative or have been able to repair and build at least one room of their house.

The reconstruction process is far from over. Medical problems are expected to emerge once the weather deteriorates. Forecasts predict the first heavy snows are expected soon.