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About the Author

Jana Cavojska
photojournalist and writing reporter (Bratislava, Slovakia)

Lawyer by education, photojournalist and writing reporter now. Working for the best sold Slovak weekly magazine Plus7dni and occasionaly also for another weekly and monthly magazines in Slovakia (including streetpaper Nota bene distributed by homeless people). Member of board of trustees of Slovak non - profit organisation Človek v ohrození - People in Peril Association providing developing and humanitarian aid in 25 countries all over the world. Usually I report about people and their stories in different parts of the world. In my blog I would like to speak about the virtue of the "common" people in difficult life situations and about developing help which is really help and not just giving. You can see my photos on my website or in my facebook profile.


Why is coordination important

Published 27th August 2010 - 0 comments - 10151 views -

You can have some people, some resources and lot of apettite to help in crisis. But there is also another important thing. System. Enthusiasm and spontaneity also have their behalf. But intelligent system and good coordination can help a lot. We can see it now in Slovakia, by helping people and communities affected by extraordinary floods in this summer.

There were circa 18 000 families whose homes were completely destroyed or damaged by floods – and this number have increased two weeks ago, after another heavy floods in Nitra region (where two people died). The worse calamity in history of independent Slovak Republic. Unfortunately, civil defence in Slovakia has just little experiences with this type of situation and inadequate equipment. For example, there is only one (!) dehumidifier in Ministry of Interior storages; for exsiccation of one room you need 1 – 3 of them running for several hours or days. Budgets of small municipalities were very limited, many of them vere in hard situation even without floods. Humanitarian organisations took an important role in elimination of floods effects.

I was working as a coordinator of activities of People in Peril Association (Človek v ohrození) in June in region affected by floods. There were so many houses and villages involved by disaster. So many people´s life changed. Destroyed houses and everything inside them. Damaged buildings, but also fields and gardens. Luckier have their houses left, although dirty and damaged. But there are people which houses collapsed. They live by relatives or in simple prefabricated portable plastic living units (who knows appropriate English word for this please help me J ). This situation will last several months, maybe years.

There were several NGO´s coming to help people in the region. People needed lots of things: cleaning and desinfection, rowing boats, gums, dehumidifiers, pumps, evacuated also food, clothes, blankets, diapers and sanitary bags. There were also media: radio and TV channels and various newspaper. They visited people and villages for making news and sometimes released some money to buy something and give it to people „on air“.

There wasn´t enough of information. There were three NGO´s helping in one village but none in the next one.

That´s why People in Peril Association (Človek v ohrození) arranged a meeting of all subjects helping in region with civil defence, mayors of affected towns and villages and state authorities. The aim was to establish a model of cooperation. To create list of needs with list of resources. „We want to avoid giving multiple aid to some people and none to another,“ says Andrej Ban, head of People in Peril Association. After earthquake in Haiti the coordination provides UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). There is system of registration of all NGO´s and of needs and OCHA then appoints who will work where and what will he do. „We wanted to find the similar system for Slovakia.“

Unfortunately, not everybody was open to this idea. Media rather were giving their help outside this system. But the biggest Slovak NGO´s joined their forces and resources and in cooperation with mayors allocated their help according to actual needs. This way they can ensure effective use of donated money.


photos from facebook gallery:!/album.php?aid=2073442&id=1475550431&ref=mf


related videos:!/video/video.php?v=1478473649901!/video/video.php?v=1477822713628


Category: Crisis | Tags:


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