“It happened in just a few minutes,” Josef Kolacek, chief emergency coordinator for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the Czech Republic, said. “It wasn’t until dawn that the real effects of the devastating tornado were revealed. Some streets are completely destroyed and will need total reconstruction.”
Kolacek describes the situation where a tornado with winds estimated at more than 135 mph (219 kmh) struck several villages in the Czech Republic on June 24, 2021.
Local authorities in South Moravia report that so far, six people have died, more than 250 people have been injured, and hundreds more residents are without homes.
Eyewitnesses said the tornado tipped over cars and buses, uprooted trees, and produced hailstones the size of tennis balls. According to local reports, the forceful wind and hailstones knocked down power lines and destroyed a retirement home and the local zoo.
Representatives of ADRA, which has been serving in the Czech Republic since 1992, have already begun meeting with local authorities and also set up fundraising efforts to help affected residents.
“It’s too soon to know how extensive the damages are, but from the looks of it alone, the villages will need long-term aid,” Radomir Spinka, country director for ADRA in the Czech Republic, said. “This kind of tornado has never hit this area before and is very rare in our country.”
According to Spinka, ADRA has set up a hub in Břeclav Adventist church, located near Moravská Nová Ves, one of the villages impacted by the tornado, to organize emergency aid. ADRA in Slovakia has also loaned its HELP Bus for the team to use in relief efforts.
ADRA has already met with residents of Moravská Nová Ves to assess damage and needs. Plans are to help serve hundreds of survivors in need of immediate assistance.
“ADRA is working to secure plastic sheets to cover roofs, generators, and many other construction materials. We also have our psychosocial teams to offer residents any emotional support,” Spinka said.
According to climate sources, tornadoes touch down across the European continent every year but go unreported as they hit sparsely populated rural areas.
ADRA is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief.