05BUCHAREST1609 / 2005-07-20 15:24:00
Embassy Bucharest
                UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 001609 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/NCE - JMESSENGER, EUR/PPD - WALKER, EB/IFD 
STATE PASS USTR FOR LERRION 
TREASURY FOR STUART 
USDOC FOR 4232/ITA/MAC/EUR/OEERIS/CEEB/BURGESS/KIMBALL 
STATE PASS USAID/OFDA FOR CHRISTINE GOTTSCHALK 
GENEVA FOR UN/OCHA, IFRCS 
USEUCOM FOR ECJ4-ID 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAID, ECON, EIND, EFIN, RO, flood 
SUBJECT: ROMANIAN FLOOD UPDATE 
 
REF: A. BUCHAREST 01031 
 
     B. BUCHAREST 01505 
     C. BUCHAREST 01584 
 
1) SUMMARY: Romania's summer of flood disasters has resulted 
in 30 deaths, left thousands homeless, caused extensive 
damage to roads and bridges, interrupted electricity and gas 
networks, submerged prime agricultural land, and produced 
approximately $2 billion in damage.  The GOR has reacted to 
the latest round, allocating $85.8 million in assistance to 
the affected counties.  International aid has also begun to 
roll in, with the European Commission seeking to reprogram 
several existing funds and bilateral assistance already 
arriving from other countries.  We responded with assistance 
to the earlier affected areas in the west and south, and are 
examining ways to respond to the latest disaster in the east. 
 END SUMMARY. 
 
---------------- 
SUMMER OF FLOODS 
---------------- 
 
2) Three separate floods have hit Romania since April 21, 
2005, leaving 34 of 42 counties under water at one point or 
another.  The first disaster was declared on April 28, 2005 
(reftel A).  Rural communities in the affected region in 
western Romania near the Serbian border, which was visited by 
the former Charge d'Affaires, ECON and USAID five weeks ago, 
are still overwhelmed by the flooding.  This first emergency 
produced one death and an estimated $600 million in damage in 
the seven most severely affected counties: Arad, Bihor, 
Caras-Severin, Hunedoara, Mehedinti, Suceava and Timis.  OFDA 
($50,000) and USAID/Romania ($500,000) assistance targeted 
the hardest hit counties of Timis and Arad. 
 
3) During July 1-4, 2005, heavy rains struck fourteen 
counties in the southern part of Romania: Arad, Arges, 
Bistrita-Nasaud, Constanta, Dolj, Giurgiu, Gorj, Hunedoara, 
Olt, Prahova, Teleorman, Tulcea, Valcea and Vrancea.  The 
floods resulted in six deaths, and damages are still being 
calculated.  Following the chief of mission's disaster 
declaration on July 5(reftel B), OFDA approved a second 
$50,000 in humanitarian assistance and relief supplies to Olt 
County, the hardest hit. 
 
4) Heavy rains in Moldavia in the eastern part of the country 
from July 9 through the present have generated serious 
flooding in 32 counties: Alba, Arad, Arges, Bacau, Bihor, 
Bistrita-Nasaud, Braila, Brasov, Calarasi, Cluj, Constanta, 
Covasna, Dolj, Galati, Giurgiu, Gorj, Harghati, Hunedoara, 
Ialomita, Mehedinti, Neamt, Olt, Prahova, Salaj, Sibiu, 
Suceava, Teleorman, Tulcea, Valcea and Vrancea.  To date, 23 
people have died and early estimates of damages amount to 
$1.2 billion.  The most recent floods have brought the total 
number of dead to 30 and total flood damage to around $2 
billion.  With more rain on the way, flooding will continue 
to cause humanitarian disasters throughout the summer. 
Already, 450,000 hectares of agricultural land, representing 
nearly five percent of the total, have been affected, 
amounting to damages of 130 to 140 million Euro. 
 
----------------- 
RAINS UNRELENTING 
----------------- 
 
5) The latest statistics on the currently affected counties 
are: 
 
-- Alba County: 42 localities affected, 415 houses damaged or 
destroyed, 1,528 ha of agricultural land inundated, 343 
people evacuated, 1 dead; 
 
-- Bacau County: 33 localities affected, 6,134 houses damaged 
or destroyed, 4,448 ha of agricultural land inundated, 1,360 
people evacuated, 3 dead; 
-- Braila: 3 localities affected and 500 houses damaged or 
destroyed; 
-- Galati: 18 localities affected, 1,622 houses damaged or 
destroyed, 8,642 ha of agricultural land inundated, 5,286 
people evacuated, 2 dead; 
-- Mehedinti: 20 localities affected, 340 houses damaged or 
destroyed, 2,660 ha of agricultural land inundated; 
-- Suceava: 12 localities affected, 39 houses damaged or 
destroyed, 388 ha of agricultural land inundated, 1 person 
missing. 
-- Teleorman: 19 localities affected, 820 houses damaged or 
destroyed, 2 dead; 
-- Vrancea: 41 localities affected, 1,798 houses damaged or 
destroyed, 2,395 ha of agricultural land inundated, 1 person 
missing, 12 deceased. 
 
Most of the affected areas are rural with an older and poor 
population.  Forty percent of the rural population is over 
the age of fifty and thirty-eight percent of the rural 
population lives below the poverty line on less than $1 a 
day.  The local authorities are not prepared to respond to 
the flood disaster and have very little equipment necessary 
to assist the affected population. 
 
6) The scope of the disaster is placing great pressure on the 
GOR to loosen its IMF-imposed budgetary constraints.  The GOR 
already plans to allocate $85.8 million for all affected 
counties, with an additional $15 million in a special reserve 
fund as necessary.  Additionally, $336.6 million will be 
allocated to rebuild infrastructure and public buildings 
destroyed by flooding.  This amount includes a pledge to 
affected farmers of $57.2 per ha.  All families of deceased 
will receive $1,009 per family in assistance. 
 
7) Other donors are also responding.  The UNDP has pledged 
$130,000 in financial assistance to the affected areas to 
purchase 14 motorboats.  They are expected to offer another 
$100,000 in the near future.  The European Commission has 
agreed to reprogram some existing funds for the redevelopment 
of infrastructure affected by the floods.  According to the 
GOR, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Israel and Canada have 
also pledged assistance.  Neither has the private sector 
remained silent, with the American Chamber of Commerce 
spearheading an assistance drive among its members. 
 
-------------------- 
THE EMBASSY RESPONSE 
-------------------- 
 
8) USAID/OFDA has already targeted humanitarian assistance 
and relief supplies to victims of the first two floods in 
Timis and Olt Counties in the amount of $100,000.  In 
addition USAID Romania is providing $500,000 in micro-lending 
assistance in Timis and Arad Counties.  However, Embassy 
Bucharest believes the most recent wave of floods in the 
eastern regions necessitates a new response.  As the timing 
of the latest disaster will make it impossible to re-seed 
affected cropland, relief requirements may continue into the 
winter.  Romania is likely to experience more flooding over 
the course of the summer, and Embassy Bucharest is 
considering ways to re-allocate our resources to respond to 
the pressing need (septel to follow). 
TAPLIN 

            
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