SALVATION Army emergency workers in Romania, eastern Europe, are providing aid to hundreds of people whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by repeated floods. The country has been hit by six bouts of flooding this year, starting in April and continuing into September. Eight people died in the most recent flooding, which primarily affected the south-east of the country, bringing to 70 the total number of deaths since the start of 2005 in the worst floods the country has seen for 30 years.
A Salvation Army emergency assessment team visited flood areas including the village of Vadu Rosca, where they met with the local council and the mayor.
The Salvation Army selected Vadu Rosca as the focus of its efforts because the village had sustained major damage and was receiving little in the way of help. Water was two metres high in many houses and 17 people had lost their lives. Villagers are still in danger from further flooding because the village is situated between two rivers. At the moment people are living in tents or wooden huts. The village has 460 families and 330 are registered as having lost everything.
The Mayor of Vadu Rosca hopes reconstruction will start soon and that people will have new houses within the next two months. The local authority officials already have building materials and workers ready to construct a new village near to the original.
The Red Cross in Romania has set up a mobile kitchen in the village which will be in use until the houses are completed. By then it will be almost winter and the families will need essential food aid.
The Salvation Army plans to give each family a food ration to cover their next most immediate needs and see them through the harsh winter. Three hundred families will each be allocated five kilos of pasta, sugar, rice, flour and corn, two kilos of oil and 30 kilos of potatoes. The cost for each food ration will be around US$30.
Funds have been released from The Salvation Army's International Headquarters and items will be gradually distributed as the villagers move into their new houses. It will be an ongoing programme over a number of weeks to distribute this large amount of food using Salvation Army volunteers and assistance from the mayor's office.
Captain Gheorghe Roman, project leader for The Salvation Army's flood response in Romania, writes, 'Food is a major need, but only one small step in helping families recover from this disaster. We would also like to distribute bed sheets, pillows and blankets before the cold winter weather arrives. Ideally these should be distributed as families move into their new homes but we do not have the funds. These families have lost everything. Replacing just the basic furniture for 300 families [bed, mattress, table and chairs and wardrobe] will cost around $130,000. The mayor is willing to help with transportation if we can secure the funding.'
With many major disasters happening around the world throughout this year, much of the media has not shown the suffering of Romania's flood victims. Salvation Army relief teams in Romania continue to work with limited resources to assist local communities. To support this response, donations can be made online to the European Disaster Fund.