Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta

Flood water burst into the Centre of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta

15/06/2013

Extremely high levels of water flowing down the Danube were recorded in the past few weeks. Cars of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta were on duty day and night taking food and drink to five thousand people in more than thirty locations.

When the river peaked at record highs in Budapest unusual events occurred twice in the Centre of the Charity Service. Following a heavy shower on 8th June water bursting out of the drains flooded some streets of the capital city of Hungary as rain water flowed backwards in the drains due to the Danube river flood. Near the Danube banks buildings were flooded, among them the basement level of the central building of the Charity Service of the Order of Malta from where old homeless people had to be evacuated.

The day after, on 9th June, when the river was about to peak, the whole building had to be evacuated, authorities switched off the electricity and sandbags were placed all around the building of the Charity Service. The home of the elderly on the first floor had to be evacuated, there was only one hour to find accommodation for 76 old people and to organise their transport. The situation was even more complex, as the majority of the old people were bound to wheelchairs or they were able to walk with walking frame only. People who had the day off were called in, a bus with platform lift was sent to the scene by the disaster management group so wheelchairs could use them. Sick patients were taken to hospitals. More than fifty old people were accommodated in a more far away institution of the Charity Service so that even the beds had to be transported there.

The flood is over, the electricity is switched on again, reparation of damages is going on. After five days, old people could return to their familiar places.

The Charity Service of the Order of Malta was this time not only a help provider but a victim of the flood.