Relief Operation Mobilised To Help Victims of South Moravian Tornado – and How You Can Help
The South Moravian Region has issued an appeal for assistance for those affected by the devastating tornado in the Břeclav and Hodonín districts on Thursday night. However, volunteers are asked not to travel to the area independently, as roads need to be kept clear for rescue and demolition vehicles. Many other public sector organisations in the region are mobilising to assist in the relief operation. Photo credit: hzscr.cz
Czech Rep., June 25 (BD) – The tornado on Thursday night caused huge destruction in the Břeclav and Hodonín districts of the South Moravian Region (JMK), leaving hundreds of people homeless. In response, civil society and public sector organisations across the region are mobilising logistical and financial support for relief efforts. Currently, around a thousand professional and volunteer firefighters are deployed in the area, along with 160 members of the armed forces, 200 police officers and 27 psychologists. Major demolition work will begin soon in the affected areas.
Supporting the relief effort
Several public sector and civic society organisations are assisting with relief efforts. On Friday morning, Brno City Council declared full logistical, material, and financial support for the areas affected by the tornado, and approved a CZK 10 million one-time donation to the relief fund, which still has to be approved by an extraordinary meeting of the city assembly next Friday. The Mayors of city districts have pledged to make unused apartments available for those who have lost their homes, and some of the injured have received treatment at Brno’s Trauma Hospital (Úrazová nemocnice).
“We are looking for all possible ways to help,” said Petr Hladík, 1st Deputy Mayor of Brno. “Hundreds of people have nowhere to return, their houses are irretrievably damaged. We are ready to make an exception to the lease of municipal flats, thanks to which we can provide dozens of flats to people in need for a long time. The rent would only be symbolic. As a city, we are ready to provide organizational, technical, material and financial assistance to the affected municipalities and their inhabitants.”
Meanwhile, Masaryk University is recruiting volunteers to help with removal of debris and psychological counselling, through its MUNI Pomáhá volunteer centre, and you can check this app for an up-to-date list of the kinds of help required. MUNI Rector Martin Bareš has contacted JMK Governor Jan Grolich to offer 200 beds in the university’s dormitories as temporary accommodation, and the university has set up a relief collection fund for the victims (details below). City organisation SAKO Brno has also released CZK 500,000 to the city’s Diocesan Charity to help the tornado victims, and will send crews to the affected area with cleaning equipment.
Coordinating the ground operation
Governor Grolich is urging volunteers and those wishing to help to avoid travelling directly to the affected areas, as transport is currently a significant challenge, and roads must be kept as clear as possible for emergency services and vehicles taking part in the clean-up operation. They should also avoid contacting town halls and mayors’ offices directly, as staff there are currently very busy coordinating critical operations. Instead, volunteers can email email@example.com or call the regional crisis line on 800 129 921 to offer help.
A coordination and information point has been established in the town of Podivín by regional crisis response staff. Priorities for the region include the urgent need for landfill capacity, and means of storing the humanitarian relief being delivered to the area. According to Grolich, a large warehouse has been designated for this purpose near Hodonín, but it is crucial at this time that only as much assistance is delivered as is currently needed, to avoid blockages.
“We have received huge offers of material assistance,” said Grolich. “We currently have enough material and food at the site, but once these supplies are depleted, we will contact them. The police must stop the supply of materials, assistance or unreported arrivals of volunteers. This is the biggest problem in the organization of transport. We need heavy machinery to be able to move around without any problems, so that people who have homes or properties here can get to them. The basic damage mapping is still in progress, the structural engineers are finishing their work.” He added that the JMK authorities are working with humanitarian relief organisations on the ground to diagnose the most urgent needs of those affected, including Člověk v tísni (“People in Need”), the Red Cross, and Charita.
Leoš Tržil, director of the JMK Regional Police Directorate, echoed this point: “The police of the Czech Republic appeal to all citizens who want to help them to respect police instructions and park their cars in the areas designated for this purpose, and walk to those localities. Only vehicles of local citizens, emergency services, and vehicles providing necessary material assistance will be allowed to enter these areas.”
How you can help
The best way to help is by donating to one of the disaster relief funds set up for this purpose, listed below. The destruction in the affected regions is extensive, and the need for funds is acute. SOS Morava is the main fund supported by disaster relief charities. Within nine hours of launching, public donations had exceeded CZK 40 million (EUR 1.5 million).
Jihomoravská komunitní nadace (South Moravian Community Foundation)
This organisation has existed since 2008 and aims to develop civil society and philanthropy in the Břeclav and Hodonín regions, promoting cultural, educational, environmental, sporting and other projects for the benefit of local populations and the development of the region.
One-time gift: ČSOB 224 781 432/0300, const. symbol 101
Standing order: ČSOB 224 781 432/0300, const. symbol 102