Less than a year ago, we helped in south Moravia after a devastating tornado

Published: Apr 13, 2022 Reading time: 5 minutes
Less than a year ago, we helped in south Moravia after a devastating tornado
© Člověk v tísni

In the event of a natural disaster, we also use our experience with humanitarian work here in the Czech Republic. We have intervened in all major floods since 1997 and responded immediately after the great tornado in June 2021 when we announced an SOS fundraiser to help the affected communities and raised 180 million Czech crowns (7.4 million EUR).

In the days immediately following the tornado, a humanitarian coordinator worked in the affected area, identifying acute needs and arranging coordinated efforts with the Integrated Rescue System (Integrovaný Záchranný System or “IZS” in Czech) and other NGOs. It was immediately agreed that four organizations with prior experience would conduct fieldwork. Right away, People in Need started working in the villages of Mikulčice, and Lužice and in Hodonín - Pánov.

“In cooperation with Charita Česká repubiká, Česky červený kříž, Diakonie and Adra, we met with all the households affected by the tornado. Together with the firefighters and police officers, we found out what was in short supply and how we could help,” says Marek Štys, Head of Emergency Programmes at People in Need.

The following week, the 30-member People in Need team, in cooperation with other humanitarian organisations, began surveying affected households and were able to deliver rapid monetary assistance of up to CZK 150,000 (6,160 EUR) per household to repair damaged houses and provide basic necessities.

Principles of agreement between non-profit organizations:
• The aid to people must be coordinated and fair: non-profit organisations must all adhere to the same principles of information collection and evaluation
• In the first round of the surveying, the aim of the assistance is to deliver up to CZK 150,000 (6160 EUR) to each affected household in the area, following the wisdom of the proverb 'a stitch in time saves nine'*
• The increase in individual financial assistance must occur based on previously agreed upon criteria of necessity. It will be given out over the course of three rounds of surveying

Some material and financial aid went to municipalities, but the majority went directly to individuals

In the first few days following the catastrophe, People in Need provided both material and personnel assistance to the central warehouses in affected regions where our team collected things like tarpaulins, brackets, planks and other construction equipment. However, the main part of People in Need’s assistance always remained direct financial donations to households in need of assistance.

After speaking with the mayors, PIN also sent five million Czech crowns (205 thousand EUR) to each damaged village.

People in Need assists on issues of debt and foreclosures

Due to People in Need’s extensive involvement in debt counselling in the Czech Republic, we were readily able to provide assistance to households affected by the tornado that were already facing foreclosure or were simply unable to pay back their debt. In particular, debt counsellors played a very important role in ensuring that that donor financial assistance for home repairs did not end up with executors.

Over 13 million Czech crowns (over 500,000 EUR) went to 427 families for the restoration of gardens and orchards after the tornado

Almost 16 million Czech crowns (over 600,000 EUR) from the SOS Morava People in Need fundraising campaign was allocated to the restoration of damaged gardens and orchards. Destroyed greenery around a home has a significantly negative psychological effect, as it not only creates a picturesque landscape, but also provides refuge for relaxation and privacy.

In October 2021, People in Need, in cooperation with Nadace Partnerství, created a grant proposal with the aim of raising money for the restoration of gardens and orchards destroyed by the tornado. Five municipalities in southern Moravia and the surrounding countryside received 13,332,190 Czech crowns (over 500,00 EUR) for vegetation restoration. Professional services were offered by the Czech Landscape and Garden Society (Společnost pro zahradní a krajinářskou tvorbu).

“Nadace Partnerství, together with People in Need, focused on the timely restoration of private gardens after the June calamity. Thanks to the support of donors from the public collection and the Dedoles company, we were able to send CZK 700,000 (28,000 EUR) to People in Need. This money will provide shade, fruit and water in Podluží. We are looking forward to all the newly written stories that relate to the renewed orchards, vineyards or walnut trees in the courtyards,” adds Jana Drochytková from Nadace Partnerství.

“As landscape architects and garden designers, we are happy to contribute during professional consultations and designs. It is amazing to see how people landscape their gardens and what joy it brings them. Quality gardens full of trees that lose their leaves in autumn and fruit trees form the basis for managing the effects of climate change as they help with the microclimate in the municipalities,” concludes Jitka Vágnerová from the Czech Landscape and Garden Society

The Greenery Restoration Program was open to legal entities that could raise up to CZK 200,000 (approximately 8,000 EUR) for new trees and shrubs. The grant opportunities were offered on the website www.nadacepartnerstvi.cz/granty.

For the renewal of the village of Lužice, People in Need distributed 45.5 million Czech crowns (nearly 2 million EUR) from the SOS Morava fundraising campaign:
• CZK 5 million (200,000 EUR) directly to the municipal budget
• CZK 37,150,000 (1.5 million EUR) to the affected households
• CZK 3,3 million (135,000 EUR) for the restoration of greenery in the village

The coordination was very well managed

Michaela Guldanová, a humanitarian worker with experience working in warzones and rehabilitation after natural disasters, comments on the help after the tornado: “The intervention from the Integrated Rescue System was perfect, there was huge sense of solidarity between the people onsite and the rest of the country. The coordination between the municipalities and at the regional levels was also very well managed.”

*Quick, decisive actions taken now will prevent bigger problems later. In this case, it was important to get the money to the families quickly in order to address immediate concerns before they escalated.

Author: People in Need, Translators: Anna Munter and Adéla Zámečníková

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