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The Flood of Jarovnice

Basic Information

In the flooding, approximately 25 homes of white people and app. 140 homes of Roma were flooded, about 35 Romani homes were destroyed, and 53 Roma died. The army was working after the floods in Jarovnice - only in the white area (it's still possible to see Civil Defense soldiers there now). For the Roma who lost the roof over their heads, there are UNIMO cells (temporary housing cubicles), though not many. There was earth-moving equipment working in the flood area, they did a little leveling and dumped some gravel there. That was all the help the Roma received. The Slovak got almost everything in aid (beds, furniture and so on, televisions and radio were talked about, but these are maybe just stories). Lenders made out the best in the floods, lending money at insane rates. The mayor doesn't want the Roma in the community, so he just ignores them. A worker in the Regional Office known as "Rambo" claimed that the Roma were drunk and threw the children in the water themselves. She also offered to contribute to their trip should the Roma leave.

Problems in the Community

  • The Roma are discriminated against in aid.
  • Many of the Romani houses were built illegally, although taxes on them were paid to the town.
  • The place where the Romani settlement stands isn't municipal land, but private (which had already been applied for in restitution), comseuqently nothing official could be built there. And it was also a flood zone.
  • The mayor refused to register them for permanent residence. He gave as his reason the failure to meet the required minimum of square meters per person.
  • Since the floods, the Roma receive social benefits in the form of food vouchers, which are only accepted in one shop in Jarovnice. This shop keeps raising its prices.

What's Happening

  • On August 18, the Slovak government issued a resolution connected to the floods which Prime Minister Meciar has yet to sign. The resolution says that those affected by the floods have the right to interest-free loans of 500,000 Sk, but Roma only get 180,000 Sk.
  • The implemetation of aid from the EU is being prepared, with Charita in charge. Presently they are putting a commission together that will distribute this aid to individual communities.
  • The implementation of aid from the Czech Republic (about 10 mil. Kc) is also being prepared, and aid from the Red Cross is being organized.
  • They are still looking for land to build a new settlement outside the town. ("...we want to name it Nujork [New York]..")
  • The foundation financed the purchase of stoves, which should be installed near the UNIMO cells.
  • The possibility of building a canteen for the Roma is still being discussed, but there's a catch. There exists a law that says:"... if a citizen turns down social benefits, the community is obliged to secure him/her one warm meal per day and a blanket...". There is a fear that the Roma will then lose their social benefits.

Related articles
26.02.2000The Flood of Jarovnice 1998News about Roma life
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