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Emergency management and international developmen

Since its establishment the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid has tried to prepare for managing emergencies. In our country – under a cooperation agreement – we work closely with the National Directorate General for Disaster Management, and so both our staff and the technical units are evolved.

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A disaster or an emergency is a condition or a situation (eg. environmental, biological, industrial origin) which endangers and impairs the life and health of people, their material values, the basic supplies of the population, the natural environment and the natural resources in a manner or an extent that preventing and clearing the damage, liquidating the consequences exceed the defense possibilities provided by the organizations, and require the introduction of special measures, strictly coordinated cooperation of governmental bodies and the mobilization of international assistance.

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Emergencies in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin

We prepare for domestic emergencies in “peace time”. Our Technical and Crisis Intervention Team tries to wait for the alarm prepared in the framework of ongoing training and development. In case of emergency we have a constant contact to the Operative Staff of the National Directorate General for Disaster Management. We do our work in consultation with the National Directorate General for Disaster Management and co-relief organizations. In emergencies we cooperate in supply, evacuation, accommodation and relief of the population. Based on the decision of the Presidential Council of the Hungarian Reformed Church in 2013 we can use the resources (kitchens, vehicles, buildings) of the Reformed educational and social institutions in qualified emergencies. These capacities provide an effective and tangible assistance in helping those in need in 1200 communities.

In each case our foundation does the restoration work from the donations in the rehabilitation and restoration period. In cooperation with the local governments, disaster management bodies and co-relief organizations, we try to provide efficient assistance to families and people for who the disaster causes damage to an extent that they cannot do the restoration work from their own resources.

Our experiences:

  • 2009 Borsod County, flood
  • 2009 Nyírbogdány, storm damage
  • 2010 Borsod County, flood
  • 2010 Balkány, Bököny, Hajdúhadház, Téglás, storm damage
  • 2010 red mud disaster
  • 2011 Hajdú-Bihar County, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, inland water
  • 2012 Abádszalók, storm damage
  • 2012 Nyíracsád, storm damage
  • 2013 Danube flood
  • 2013 Vaja, storm damage
  • 2014 snowstorm, frostbite
  • 2014 Tornanádaska, storm damage

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Our Technical Team

Our Technical Team tries to support the prevention of emergency mainly by providing pumps, generators. Our team consists of volunteer members. Their training and preparation are continuous and takes place in accordance with the domestic disaster management law provisions. Our Technical Team basically consists of volunteers of the Reformed dioceses in Tiszántúl and Tiszáninnen. Our team is willing and able to get going to the target area where we can accomplish missions of 12-15 days in a self-sufficient form in a few hours in an emergency.

Our experiences:

  • 2010 Hungary, flood in Borsod
  • 2011 Hungary, inland water in Nyírség
  • 2012 Hungary, inland water in Nyírség
  • 2013 Hungary, flood of Danube
  • 2014 Serbia, flood

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Crisis Intervention Counseling Group

Natural disasters and disasters caused by human omission take a special burden on the people experiencing disaster spiritually, psychologically as well. Today, fear from flood, natural and industrial disasters became tangible, so in addition to the material and physical assistance pastoral support should be offered to people in need. The specific situation requires proper, specialized counseling procedures, such as crisis management, or management of traumatic and post-traumatic life situations. In Western countries issues about crisis intervention counseling have been addressed for decades as a specific field. Appropriate theoretical knowledge and acquisition of practical procedures are necessary that professionals can help in their service area or by national disasters.

In autumn 2011 the Board of Trustees of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid decided to organize a crisis intervention counseling group that in a potential disaster situation the Church can provide spiritual support for those in need. Beyond the Western sample the experiences by the increased number of crises, especially by the flood in 2010 and the mud disaster contributed to the establishment by the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid. Crisis intervention counseling should and can be applied primarily for evacuees, people afflicted by disasters and defenders in real disaster situations (eg. flood, conflagration, earthquake, etc.) in the first 48-72 hours. In that case there is a need for a special psychological care when a prolonged crisis occurs in the life of a bigger group of people living in the affected area in result of the disaster and people living there are traumatized.

The members of the Group help the pastor serving in the area afflicted by disaster, and consult with the management of the relevant parish or diocese. The members of the Group consist of volunteer professionals who have a special counseling degree (pastoral psychology, mental health, supervisor, etc.) besides their basic degree. We organized a 60-hour training called “Crisis Intervention Counseling” in 2014 for the Group’s candidates, called “Family and disaster” in 2015 where our pastors got acquainted with disasters, experiences earned there, adaptation to extreme situations, special tricks of first aid, crisis intervention, dynamic counseling and opportunities in the Crisis Intervention Counseling Group of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid and in team work.

Our experiences:

  • 2010 flood in Borsod
  • 2010 red mud disaster
  • 2013 flood of Danube

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Medical Team

The purpose and mission of the team is to provide medical and where applicable humanitarian assistance by international disasters and crisis situations affecting a large number of people. The Group is a registered user of the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) operated by UN and the European Community which allows us to be informed about disasters around the world non-stop in a few minutes. The Team is willing and able to get going anywhere in the world within 12 hours after the sharp alarm.

The Team can serve more 10-15-day missions even after the other. We can accomplish these missions entirely self-sufficient because in disaster situations we cannot rely on local resources. In missions we’re able to work continuously due to the Team’s structure. In accordance with the nature of the disaster and the need of resultant medical care the Team’s medical activities adapt flexibly and can provide extensive supply covering many specializations. If it’s necessary, we send and distribute humanitarian relief supplies to the target area. In all cases we do these actions according to the SPHERE standards that allows all people in need to get to donations in accordance with the currently accepted international guidelines in addition to helping intent.

Part of our equipment is two large, inflatable tents which can function as a hospital. In modular system that meets the international standards the diagnostic and therapeutic tools for primary care are prepared for travel. Medicines of acute and chronic care. And tools ensuring the Team’s self-sufficiency. The full equipment needed for successful missions is in readiness in our location in Budapest so in a sharp situation air transport can be start within 1-2 hours. The members of our Team are volunteers, they don’t receive any financial or in-kind reward for their work. We think it’s important to emphasize this because on the one hand it reflects the commitment of our Team members towards professional work and assistance, on the other hand we appropriate the donations entirely for training and care.

Our experiences:

  • 2008 Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone Nargis acute disaster-medical care
  • 2009 supply of tribal areas of Congo international medical mission
  • 2009-2012 Afghanistan’s health sector development international medical mission
  • 2010-2011 earthquake in Haiti acute disaster-medical care + rehabilitation
  • 2011 Kenya’s international orphanage international medical mission
  • 2012 earthquake + tsunami in Japan acute disaster-medical care + humanitarian assistance
  • 2013 Philippines Typhoon Haian acute disaster-medical care
  • 2013-2014 Pakistan MSF hospital care international medical mission
  • 2014 Kenya MSF hospital care international medical mission
  • 2014 Sweden Ebola evacuation exercise international medical mission
  • 2015 Yemen MSF hospital care international medical mission
  • 2015 civil war in Ukraine economic crisis military hospital care screening of children with disabilities

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International development

It is in the memorandum and articles of association of our foundation that as an aid organization we focus on the area of the Carpathian Basin, especially on the Hungarian-inhabited areas in our assistance. We keep this in mind when using our resources. Besides, as one of the biggest domestic aid organization we see and feel our global responsibility. If our strength, our capacity allows us, we try to help in the more distant parts of the world as well. Since its establishment in 2008 our organization has gone through a rapid development yet we cannot implement continuous international development programs. So far we’ve implemented a three-year development program in the Province Baghlan of Afghanistan under which – in collaboration with the Provincial Reconstruction Team of the Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF PRT) – we’ve developed the tool capacity of the province’s medical institutions. In practice this involves the installation of equipment in 6 provincial clinics (health centers) and the installation of diagnostic and supply equipment in the Textile Factory Hospital in Puli Khumri.

The necessary development tools (in many cases diagnostic ultrasonic devices of great value, gynecological and obstetrical devices) were delivered with the airlift of HDF and the military provided the on-site logistics. The total amount exceeded 45 million HUF. As a result of the implemented modernization – according to the provincial head physician – the number of hospital deaths is detectably reduced.

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