A wave of extreme cold and heavy snowfall has severely affected the South-Eastern region of Romania. In February more than 70,000 people have been completely isolated because of the snow in rural areas of the country. The vulnerability of the affected communities has risen to a critical level.
The Order of Malta relief organisation in Romania together with Habitat for Humanity Romania has responded immediately to the crisis. They have taken action to support those who have suffered most: rural households without a stable income, the elderly, people with disabilities and families with many children from the counties Vrancea and Braila.
A team of forty volunteers has distributed in the last two weeks 200 emergency kits for the neediest families, many of whom have been stuck in their houses for over a week. The emergency kits contain tools for small repairs, insulation material, a first aid kit, simple equipment to generate heat, a lamp, blankets, rubber boots and equipment and materials for use in the prevention of flooding or infiltration. At the same time, the volunteers removed huge amounts of snow surrounding their houses.
“It was an impressive task and all those who took part have been touched by the dramatic situation. I saw a family with snow piled up to the roof of their house – the sun had not been seen for three weeks. The volunteers worked hard for several hours and finally the first rays of sunlight penetrated inside”, explained Tischler Ferenc, the Volunteers Youth Leader in Romania.
The intervention campaign was financed by the Order of Malta’s volunteer organisation in Germany, Malteser Hilfsdienst e. V, and Habitat for Humanity Romania. The General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations in Romania also provided help.