Summary: CHF 165,927 was allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Romanian Red Cross in delivering immediate assistance to 800 families (3,200 beneficiaries).
In February 2012, unusually cold winter weather conditions affected many parts of Romania in the form of heavy snowfalls and extremely low temperatures reaching minus 25 degrees Celsius in some places, which hampered or even blocked road transport and led to the disruption of food supplies and problems in rendering medical assistance, and caused hunger and frostbites among the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially the homeless. The Romanian Red Cross reacted promptly by alerting its staff and volunteers, starting the distribution of its available stocks from its warehouses and contacting the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) for immediate financial assistance through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund.
A direct and accurate assessment of the needs was not possible in the very first days due to the fact that most of the affected communities were inaccessible. The actions had initially been planned according to the data provided by local authorities. Later on, assessments were continuously conducted by local Red Cross branches, the situation was updated daily in the meetings of the local Commands for Emergency Situations in which the Romanian Red Cross was represented, and the plans of action were permanently revised according to the new data. Based on the needs assessment, the weather forecast and the information provided by the Crisis Management Centre, the National Society decided to target the most vulnerable 800 families (3,200 beneficiaries) in those villages which were isolated due to snow blockades. The beneficiaries were mainly elderly individuals living alone in remote areas with little or no family support, low income families with small children and limited social security coverage. The Romanian Red Cross was also providing support to the homeless people in the affected counties. The operation achieved its targets having provided the planned 800 families (3,200 beneficiaries) with relief items, enhanced the visibility of the Romanian Red Cross, and further improved the existing good cooperation with the central and local authorities and the mass media. Due to the time-consuming procurement procedures for the replenishment of the stocks, the timeframe of the operation was extended until May 25th.
Due to the positive donor response to the national appeal launched by the Romanian RC, savings were realized on the DREF allocations. The remaining amount of CHF 29,519 will be returned to the DREF.
The major donors and partners of the DREF operation in Romania include the Australian, the American and the Belgian Governments, the Austrian Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross and the Canadian Government, the Danish Red Cross and the Danish Government, the European Commission
s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), the Irish and the Italian Governments, the Japanese Red Cross Society, the Luxembourg Government, the Monaco Red Cross and the Monaco Government, the Netherlands Red Cross and the Netherlands Government, the Norwegian Red Cross and the Norwegian Government, the Spanish Government, the Swedish Red Cross and the Swedish Government, the United Kingdoms Department for International Development (DFID), the Medtronic and Z Zurich Foundations, and other corporate and private donors. On behalf of the Romanian Red Cross Society, the IFRC would like to extend their thanks to all of them for their generous contributions. Details of all donors can be found at http://www.ifrc.org/docs/appeals/Active/MAA00010_2012.pdf