Presence of Mind Over the Ruins

HRCA’s Disaster Response Team deployed in the Czech Republic

A seven-man relief and rescue team of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid (HRCA) helped with damage mitigation and debris clearance in tornado-stricken southern Moravia. The HRCA has also launched a donation campaign.

Szeretetszolgálat Csehországi tornádó 2021 nyár, fotó: Csordás Ádám/MRSZ

Fotó: Ádám Csordás/HRCA

At least 150 people have been injured in southern Moravia, where a tornado accompanied by hail struck in the evening of 24 June. The natural disaster has also caused fatalities and huge material damage. High winds, which are extremely rare in the region, caused the worst damage in the towns of Hodonín and Breclav. Ambulances, fire brigades and special army units were mobilised in the region and immediately started rescue operations.

In the wake of the disaster, the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid (HRCA) contacted our partner church, the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren and its Diaconia, just like the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Budapest and the Embassy of Hungary in Prague and offered assistance to the victims.


Fotó: Ilka Kovács/HRCA

HRCA deployed a seven-member team helped by an internationally certified search and rescue dog. The team was equipped with necessary relief and search tools, including aggregators, floodlights, water pumps, chainsaw, searchlights, and special hand tools, as well as special disaster tents, roof sheeting, cleaning and disinfecting products and food packages. The team members are trained volunteer firefighters and arrived at the disaster site on Friday afternoon.

The team was confronted with a shocking reality. The extreme weather had completely devastated the region. Uprooted trees, overturned cars, uninhabitable houses, debris everywhere you look.


Fotó: Ilka Kovács/HRCA

“The damage caused by the tornado is beyond imagination,” reported Márton Juhász, Executive Director of HRCA. “The attitude of the Czech people is exemplary. They have suffered a huge and unexpected loss, but they are still able to smile and are doing their utmost to save what can be saved. Everyone is doing their job in a disciplined manner, whether they are professional helpers or volunteers. They welcomed us with great enthusiasm and we got to work straight away,” said the director.

On Thursday, June 24, 2021, an unexpected natural disaster struck the Hodonín and Břeclav regions with devastating force. A tornado swept through South Moravia after a series of strong storms. Rescuers and volunteers have been intervening in the area, and in addition to extensive material damage, unfortunately, victims and dozens of injuries have also been reported.

Before midnight on Thursday, the leadership of the Czech Brethren Evangelical Church and its Diakonia had an extraordinary meeting deciding on immediate assistance. They released CZK 500,000 from humanitarian funds and started a humanitarian donation campaign through the Center for Humanitarian and Development Cooperation.

Rescue Team of HRCA left on Friday for the Czech Republic