Budapest, 18 July 2019 – 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).

IFRC has contributed 230,000 Swiss francs (67.3 million Hungarian forints) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to allow Hungarian Red Cross to assist 2,400 families with food, sanitary kits and construction materials.

The storm hit eastern Hungary on 27 June, causing serious damage in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, particularly in the settlements of Nyírmada, Nyírkarász, Pusztadobos and Rétközberencs.

2,500 rooftops 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.

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

István Kardos, Director General of the Hungarian Red Cross said: “With our network of volunteers on the ground we are able to help quickly and efficiently in such situations. Although the immediate needs were met, 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 IFRC emergency funds, 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 do temporary repairs to damaged roofs.

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

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

Background information:

Photos of the damage are available here.

Those wishing to contribute to Hungarian Red Cross storm local appeal can do so here.

Hungarian Red Cross is a member of the IFRC. One of the key disaster management tools available for members is the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Following a disaster, within 48 hours, emergency funding can be applied for and distributed, enabling Red Cross staff and volunteers on the ground to respond quickly.

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Media contacts

Hungarian Red Cross: Zoltan Somody, Head of Communications, +36 70 933 8758, zoltan.somody@voroskereszt.hu

IFRC: Nora Peter, Senior Communications Officer, +36 70 265 4020, nora.peter@ifrc.org

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