Czech Republic

Our Vision

Increase disaster preparedness and deliver immediate aid and relief in the Czech Republic to build more resilient communities.

The Context

After 100 years of no flooding, the Czech Republic experienced devastating flooding in 1999. Diaconia ECCB, in partnership with the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB), decided to assist the victims. As flooding consistently reoccured over the next several years, Diaconia ECCB established a regular collection of funds and financial support was given to families and households most affected.

In 2002, after more extreme flooding, Diaconia ECCB, along with the ECCB, united once again to provide assistance to the victims. They organized effective volunteer clean-up groups and raised a total of $2,000,000 to help over 1,200 households. The experience made Diaconia ECCB realize that within the congregations of the Czech Brethren, there was an interest in and passion for assisting in relief efforts. Consequently, Diaconia established a base of 600 volunteers. These volunteers were then divided into ten groups, organized, trained, and sent out to provide technical, emotional, and financial assistance to regions devastated by flooding. Diaconia ECCB not only realized its potential for raising funds, but also improved its technical and organizational capabilities.

Since 2002, Diaconia ECCB (and the newly-established Diaconia -CRD) has provided assistance to over 150,000 people. We have trained and managed hundreds of volunteers, distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to families in need, and have helped with the restoration of damaged property. We have built effective systems to help communities and are continuing to improve disaster preparedness throughout the Czech Republic.

Upon the establishment of Diaconia-CRD in 2013, all disaster relief and aid work became the responsibility of Diaconia-CRD, not Diaconia ECCB.

Our Work

Because major flooding is a recurring problem in the Czech Republic, we at Diaconia-Center of Relief and Development understand the importance of having well-trained volunteers and well-prepared systems in place. Volunteers on our first-response team are trained to more effectively address the earliest needs during a natural disaster. Our volunteer teams are equipped to deal with property damage, clean-up efforts, as well as provide psychological assistance to those affected. We are part of the Integrated Emergency Response System and cooperate with other humanitarian aid organizations. In order to build better emergency response systems, we work to improve the coordination between volunteers, local authorities, and government officials. We know that together we can increase our disaster preparedness and effectively respond to future flood disasters in the Czech Republic.

We believe it is important to take a holistic approach to humanitarian aid and disaster relief; therefore, our disaster preparedness project in the Czech Republic takes a multi-faceted approach. Our overall goal is to reduce the risk of damage during disasters, improve the safety of individuals, and implement programs that will build resiliency against  future disasters. Our disaster preparedness program consists of the following parts:

  • Initial Evaluation: We evaluate a village’s disaster preparedness and identify strengths and potential weaknesses. Once we complete this process, we begin planning strategic partnerships with authorities, and other nonprofit agencies.
  • Planning: Next, we plan effective management and prevention systems. In order to prepare villagers, we work to organize and improve emergency drills for when disasters strike. We also build and implement powerful communication systems so that important, sometimes life-saving information, can be quickly disseminated among officials and community members. We appoint specific roles and responsibilities to local authorities and villagers so that operations on the ground can run more smoothly and efficiently.
  • Coordination: We coordinate our team of volunteers during a relief effort and ensure that protocols are being properly followed. In addition, we establish field offices so that relief materials and resources are quickly and easily distributed. We also support local officials in their coordination efforts, helping them develop a well ordered crisis response.
  • Ongoing Evaluation: We want to make sure that communities are safe for decades to come. We continue to evaluate our programs and policies to ensure that vulnerabilities are being addressed and systems are becoming stronger.