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Red Cross provides HUF 67 mln in aid for storm-hit villages

The Hungarian Red Cross is helping 7,200 people affected by severe storms in late June with financial and technical assistance from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The storms hit on June 27, causing serious damage in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, northeast Hungary.

The IFRC has contributed CHF 230,000 (HUF 67.3 million) from its disaster relief emergency fund to allow the Hungarian Red Cross to assist 2,400 families with food, sanitary kits and construction materials, says a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The storm hit the settlements of Nyírmada, Nyírkarász, Pusztadobos and Rétközberencs particularly hard. Some 2,500 roofs were destroyed by the rain, and 30 families had to be evacuated as their homes became uninhabitable. The storm also ravaged kitchen gardens and crops, jeopardizing the livelihoods of many families, the Red Cross says.

Together with local authorities and civil groups, the local branch of the Red Cross immediately deployed 30 staff and volunteers who helped remove debris and cleared roads.

“With our network of volunteers on the ground we are able to help quickly and efficiently in such situations,” says István Kardos, director general of the Hungarian Red Cross. “Although immediate needs were met, a full recovery in the affected communities will require a lot more time and resources. Therefore, we are launching a fundraising campaign to help as many families as possible.”

With the help of IFRC emergency funds, the Hungarian Red Cross will distribute one month’s supply of dry food as well as sanitary cleaning kits for 2,400 families. It will also supply construction materials for skilled volunteers to carry out temporary repairs to damaged roofs.

The humanitarian operation has already started at Nyírmada, where Red Cross volunteers and local government staff started the distribution of aid to affected families.

“As a result of climate change, extreme weather events are occurring more frequently in Europe,” says Elkhan Rahimov, the IFRC’s acting regional director for Europe. “This poses a challenge to humanitarian organizations as society’s most vulnerable are often the ones who are most exposed to the forces of nature.”