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Cablegate: Flood Relief Request - Romania

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

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
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.

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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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