OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Western Romania Floods
This situation report is based on ongoing consultations and communications between OCHA and the UN Resident Coordinators Office in Romania since the beginning of the floods. The information is received from the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Romania under the framework of the DMT. The report aims at recapitulating and consolidating the information.
1. During the first two weeks of May, floods struck the western region of Romania, mainly affecting 3 counties: Arad, Caras-Severin and Timis (see below for more detailed information). About 4400 houses have been flooded and damaged, with 650 houses completely destroyed. The total number of outbuildings (mainly stables) flooded is around 5000. 113,000 ha of land for agriculture has been inundated and the estimated amount of water covering the region is 200 million cubic metres.
2. 3400 people have been evacuated with the majority of people housed in different shelters (ranging from tents to schools gyms). 47 public buildings (churches, health clinics, town halls) were also flooded.
3. The floods are considered to be the worst in the last 50 years. Moreover, even though this report mainly deals with the western parts, new floods are expected this week in other parts of the country and 32 of Romania's 41 counties have been placed under alert.
4. Roads and railroads have also been flooded, especially near the border with Serbia-Montenegro.
Situation in Arad County
5. In the county of Arad 56 people have been evacuated, 251 houses and 272 outbuildings have been flooded. 11,988 ha of agricultural land have also been covered by water. 18 localities have been affected by the flooding.
Situation in Caras-Severin County
6. 59 persons have been evacuated, 33 houses destroyed and 1109 houses damaged. 1493 outbuildings have been partially damaged. 9503 ha of agricultural land had been flooded and 27 public buildings affected. 58 localities have been affected by the flooding.
Situation in Timis County
7. Some 3400 people have been evacuated, some by helicopter, from their homes in seven localities in the Timis County. 2359 houses have been flooded and 619 destroyed, while 3213 stables and other outbuildings have been damaged. The number of completely destroyed houses is likely to rise, because in many cases the flooding has caused structural weakening. 92,000 ha of agricultural land have been flooded and 20 public buildings have also been damaged. 62 localities have been affected by the flooding.
8. The Ministerial Committee for Emergency Situations headed by the Ministry of Environment and Waters is in charge of coordinating relief efforts. Different administrative structures are involved, including the military. The Government has decided to allocate ROL 10 billion (approximately 350,000 USD) as emergency support to the affected areas, with more assistance planned for reconstruction in the coming period. Private donations for people suffering from floods amount to more than ROL 30 billion so far, alongside in-kind donations of clothing, footwear, food and construction materials. The inter-ministerial committee headed by the Ministry of Environment has responded in providing assistance to the affected population in the flood-stricken areas. The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, a military structure under Ministry of Administration and Interior, headed by gr. Vladimir Secara is also actively involved.
9. According to the DMT (Disaster Management Team) assessment, the Government of Romania has done well in responding to the situation. The President and Prime Minister have visited the affected regions and the situation currently seems to be under control. Vaccines have been given to people and the supply of in-kind support like food and vaccines exceeds demand.
10. The DMT has been undertaking needs assessment, assistance efforts and information sharing actions. The UN Resident Coordinator, supported by staff of his office and various sectoral and operational working groups, leads the DMT. Its main function is to ensure adequate and effective international assistance to complement the national response. The Disaster Management Team took early action, when the Ministry of Health approached WHO regarding guidelines and procedures for emergency situations from a health perspective. The guidelines containing post-flood situation measures like vaccines against communicable diseases (especially anti-hepatitis A and measles), access to safe drinking water, strengthening of surveillance of communicable diseases (specially among children) was provided within 2 hours.
11. The Government has expressed gratitude for the assistance given and welcomes any offer of additional assistance. According to NATO and the European Commission Civil Protection Co-operation Mechanism the following countries has provided assistance to Romania: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America, Malta, Moldova. The International Federation of the Red Cross provided assistance and has allocated an emergency grant of 134,590 USD. BCPR has granted emergency assistance of 100,000 USD
12. The Government's and local authorities' efforts to evacuate people and their belongings and livestock have been hampered by a significant shortage of pneumatic motorised boats, adapted for use in such situations. Their availability would greatly facilitate emergency interventions in the present situation and in any future floods occurrence, hence contributing to minimize the loss of lives and reduce material damage from floods. The Government of Romania has therefore through the UN/UNDP requested funding and operational support in procuring pneumatic motorboats and life jackets. OCHA has agreed to provide the Government of Romania with an Emergency Grant of 30,000 USD to be channelled through the UNDP in Romania.
13. This Situation Report and information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int.
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