Current Affairs Government pledges immediate aid to flood-stricken regions
Damages from this weekend’s flash floods are estimated at heading for CZK 4 billion (around USD 215 million). To determine how to quickly and efficiently send financial aid to the affected regions, Prime Minister Petr Nečas called an extraordinary government session on Monday morning. On the agenda were both the acute needs of flood-stricken municipalities and a long-term strategy to help the state prepare financially for future floods.
On Monday morning, the government held an extraordinary meeting to discuss financial aid measures for municipalities that were badly hit by floods this weekend and are now in dire need of financial assistance. To assure that the rescue and recovery efforts can take place as quickly as possible, Prime Minister Petr Nečas pledged that funds will reach those municipalities as early as Tuesday.
“Today, we decided, and this is to take effect immediately, that we will send 40 million Czech crowns to the Liberec region, and the money should be in the city’s account by tomorrow. Once we determine the financial needs of the Ustí, Pardubice and possibly also the South Bohemian regions, we will approach theirs in the same way. These are urgently needed funds, funds that the municipalities badly require at this moment. This is about financial aid that is necessary right now.”
The government is prepared to send up to 350 million crowns in aid to affected regions by Wednesday. Hundreds of soldiers are currently assisting in the recovery effort and more manpower is on the way, says Minister of Defense Alexandr Vondra.
“The army was of course active on Saturday and Sunday, both in rescue missions by helicopter and in evacuation operations on the ground. Now we are reaching the second phase of this mission. For that reason, the government has issued an order that will make it possible to station up to one thousand members of the army in the affected areas until the end of September. This is a rather high number, and it is in some ways unprecedented. This decision demonstrates that the government is determined to help with the recovery effort to the highest extent.”
Along with these instant relief measures, the government also discussed long-term strategies to help prepare the state for expenses resulting from floods, which already hit the Moravian region earlier this year, causing damages of over half a billion Czech crowns. One possibility would be the introduction of a flood solidarity fund, financed by a reduction in income tax breaks.