Heavy rain brings fatal flooding to Romania

Newsroom 05/07/2010 | 11:40

The heavy rains of recent weeks have seen parts of Romania deluged by flood water, with damages expected to be more severe than in the last serious floods of 2008. The precipitation follows the torrid days registered in the first half of June, another example of the extreme weather conditions that have become a customary part of the Romanian climate.

By Thursday, a preliminary evaluation of the current situation saw over 100 localities in over 10 counties under water, with several deaths reported. In the affected locations, thousands of people were evacuated from their homes with little other than the clothes they were wearing. Roads were closed and people were left without drinking water and electricity. Over 2,800 employees of the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense were deployed to the affected areas. Local NGOs, such as the Red Cross, are also making a significant contribution to helping flood victims and several funds have been set up for the collection of goods and money to help the thousands of people afflicted.

In response, the Romanian government might ask the IMF for an increase in the agreed budget deficit, which could rise from 6.8 to 7 percent. According to Radu Berceanu, transport minister, the documents for this proposal have already been sent to IMF officials, but a discussion will take place at the end of July, when a visit by IMF representatives is scheduled for Romania. The difference between the initially set deficit and the currently expected one, of around EUR 250 million, might be used in projects to repair the damages caused by the floods, along with a sum that the Ministry of Environment could allocate. France has sent its condolences to the Romanian weather catastrophe victims, while European Commission officials have declared that they have not received any requests for the activation of the Mechanism of Civil Protection on behalf of the Romanian government.

The latest forecasts predicted the heavy rains to peter out on Friday. However, a code red alert has been issued for Prut, Siret and Olt rivers, and code yellow for several other rivers in Romania, until 4 pm on Sunday.

Corina Dumitrescu


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