The recent heavy rainfalls have caused substantial damage in many parts of the country
The heavy rainfalls of the recent days, assigned code yellow and orange alerts by meteorologists, have created massive problems in several parts of the country. Hydrologists have also issued several flood alerts valid in many counties, the most affected region being the north of the country, where a code red alert was in place. Flash floods were reported and the high water flow rates reached by several rivers have caused damage in scores of villages and towns.
In the north of Romania, in Maramures County, a 63 year old man died on Wednesday, swept away by such an overflow. Several rivers flooded hundreds of hectares of farm land, pastures, households, national, county and local roads, while segments of railroad were silted up.
In the affected areas, the authorities brought in sandbags, power pumps and other equipment in order to take the water out of the flooded households. In the village of Turbuta, in the north-west of the country, the pontoon bridge was rendered unusable, the only access way into the village being a ramshackle footbridge that makes it impossible for firefighters or ambulances to get there in case of emergency. People say the only solution is to wait for the waters to withdraw.
Severe problems have also been reported in other villages, where roads have been affected by river overflows and the locals have to use by-pass routes. Farmers are the most upset, because many of them see their crops under water and the damage is substantial. The locals in many villages in the north of the country received warnings via the RO-Alert system, regarding a prospective major flash flood. Tens of people were evacuated, and more than 100 people called the 112 emergency number.
In the south of Romania as well, the rainfall caused flooding that required the intervention of military firefighters, which brought in power pumps to help take out the water from people’s homes. Thousands of people were left without electricity.
Meanwhile, the European Commission proposed an aid programme of over 8 million euros for the north-east of the country, which was severely affected by floods last summer. Following the heavy rains falling from mid-June to early August 2018, massive damage was caused in terms of infrastructure, farm land and housing in 6 counties in that region, particularly in Neamt, Bacau and Suceava. The Romanian authorities estimate that the rescue and civil protection operations cost nearly 295 million euros.
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)