05BUCHAREST1610 / 2005-07-20 15:41:00
Embassy Bucharest
                UNCLAS BUCHAREST 001610 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
STATE FOR EUR/ACE - DROSENBLUM 
USAID FOR AID/OFDA - RANDREW, CGOTTSCHALK, AMAHONEY 
AID/EE/ECA - NSTUDZINSKI, MLOPES 
RSC/DIR - JKIRKLAND 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAID, ECON, RO, flood, disaster relief 
SUBJECT: FLOOD RELIEF REQUEST - ROMANIA 
 
REF: A. BUCHAREST 1031 
     B. BUCHAREST 1505 
     C. BUCHAREST 1584 
     D. BUCHAREST 1609 
 
1.  SUMMARY: Embassy Bucharest recommends an increase in USG 
humanitarian assistance to respond to continuing flooding in 
Romania.  Heavy rains and floods that began in western 
Romania in April have been followed by other, more serious 
flooding in the south and east in recent weeks.  Some 70 
percent of Romania's territory has now been affected since 
this spring.  With cumulative damage estimates exceeding one 
billion euros, the Embassy recommends that the USG increase 
our humanitarian assistance program to demonstrate our 
support for this important coalition partner.  State, 
USAID/W, OFDA and DOD are asked to approve additional 
contributions to this effort as outlined below.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.  BACKGROUND: Heavy rains in April caused flooding that was 
concentrated in western Romania around Timisoara and Arad. 
The Embassy declared a disaster in reftel A to which OFDA 
quickly responded with $50,000.  In addition, Embassy asked 
existing SEED-funded implementing partners to redirect 
$500,000 to provide immediate assistance to flood victims. 
These actions allowed the USG to be the first international 
donor to respond to the spring floods, receiving praise from 
both President Basescu and Prime Minister Tariceanu. 
Unfortunately, the heavy rains next caused havoc in the 
southeast, setting off additional flooding in the counties of 
Olt, Dolj and Teleorman.  The Embassy declared an emergency 
(reftel B) and OFDA again responded quickly with $50,000. 
The latest round of flooding caused heavy damage in the 
eastern counties of Bacau, Braila and Galati.  With damage 
estimates reaching one billion euros from the latest floods, 
the Embassy firmly believes the USG must do more to respond. 
More details on damages and other donor plans are provided in 
reftel C and today's flood update cable (reftel D).  END 
BACKGROUND. 
 
3.  Embassy recommends a cumulative total USG humanitarian 
response of approximately $3 million as detailed below. 
 
4.  OFDA $600,000.  Embassy thanks OFDA for the $100,000 
provided in response to disaster declarations to date.  World 
Vision, a US non-governmental organization, has been the 
OFDA-funded partner to date.  Former DCM Delare toured Timis 
County in June to review World Vision's program.  World 
Vision is preparing a proposal to OFDA for an additional 
$500,000 to expand their work in all flood-affected areas. 
Embassy and USAID will review this proposal and send OFDA 
recommendations.  However, based upon excellent past 
performance and close collaboration with Embassy, we expect 
our recommendation to be positive. 
 
5.  SEED funds $2 million.  In May, Embassy and SEED-funded 
implementing organizations redirected $500,000 in existing 
SEED resources to address immediate needs of flood victims in 
western Romania.  Loans were made for families to reconstruct 
homes, businesses and farms.  Both Pioneer and Monsanto 
donated seeds for farmers to replant crops.  (Note: it is too 
late in the season now to replant and get a harvest before 
winter.)  Flood victims were trained how to purify drinking 
water and prevent the spread of disease.  Wells were drained 
and purified.  Embassy recommends another $500,000 in current 
SEED funds be redirected using existing partners.  In 
addition, EUR/ACE is asked to provide post with an additional 
$1 million in SEED funds to be programmed through existing 
implementing partners for similar activities in all three 
major flood areas. 
TAPLIN 

            
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