People in Need divides 100 million among flood victims
The People in Need Foundation, a prominent and highly experienced humanitarian aid organization, which has long provided aid to the needy in countries such as Chechnya and Afghanistan, now has its hands full helping hundreds of thousands of flood victims in the Czech Republic. In the wake of the floods its coordinators visited close to a hundred afflicted villages, organized close to 900 volunteers and dispatched tons of humanitarian aid to different parts of the Czech Republic. People in Need has now collected over 130 million crowns in public donations - and according to Simon Panek a decision has already been made on how the bulk of the money will be used.
In providing targeted assistance the People in Need Foundation works in tandem with government and local authorities. The initial phase of the aid operation, which is still underway, involves clean up work, the second will focus mainly on renovation. In asking people to donate money for these projects the organization has placed a lot of emphasis on building trust.
"The bigger donors usually want to know exactly how their money will be used -i.e. what exactly will happen with their 25 thousand dollars or 50 thousand dollars. So we make sure that donors who offer over 25 thousand dollars get a special service . We sign an agreement with them defining exactly how their money will be used and the donor is informed about the results as soon as the project has been completed."
Even though the public has been generous with donations and many people have volunteered to help with clean up work - the past three weeks have been hectic for the People in Need team. Even as they struggle to help the local population, there are other, ongoing, aid projects demanding attention. So, have the floods here in Central Europe proved to be a serious set-back for the foundation's work abroad?
"No, certainly not. We can't postpone our projects in Chechnya or Afghanistan because of what is happening here. For example in Grozny there are 50 thousand people dependant on us for the distribution of UN food packages. We are responsible for the transport, storage and delivery of this aid to 50 thousand beneficiaries there each month. So there is no way we can curtail or shelve that project. The floods have simply doubled our workload. The good thing is that we are now forming a new "flood-team" which should handle the flood-aid project over the next 7 to 10 months . The new offices will open in two days time -small offices and a small team but they should take some of the burden off our shoulders. Over the past twenty days we've all had two jobs -our regular workload plus the flood-aid operation and we are all feeling a little tired. "