Two years after a flood of toxic sludge from an alumina plant engulfed parts of Western Hungary contaminating the River Danube, the central square of the town of Devecser has been renamed the ‘Order of Malta Garden’. In renaming the square the local government wished to commemorate the close co-operation between the town and the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, which came to the town’s aid in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
Following the catastrophe 220 volunteers and staff members of the Order of Malta were involved in providing emergency aid in Devecser. Tenancies for 155 families were paid for by the Order as well as provision of financial support for a further 37 families for their temporary accommodation expenses. Houses were restored and 50 homes furnished with the help of volunteers. Even in the second year after the ecological disaster the Order of Malta is still actively involved in the restoration works in the area.