First tornado relief packages to go out to families

On June 24, a huge tornado struck South Moravia, injuring hundreds of people and causing millions in damage. Via Foundation and another 8 non-profit organizations and foundations are working together to coordinate the first relief packages for people devastated by the tornado. In less than a week, donors to these organizations have given more than $23 million (CZK 500 million) in all. The money will be divided equitably among people and communities impacted by the tornado. In addition to direct relief to families, Via Foundation is giving each of the 5 hardest hit municipalities $230,000 (CZK 5 million) to help cover basic disaster relief needs. We thank all of the donors for their amazing generosity!

The organizations will divide the donations transparently according to agreed rules and in a coordinated fashion. The goal is to send $7,000 (CZK 150,000) per family and proportional aid to municipalities as quickly as possible. In regard to the extent of damages and the amount of money raised, these first aid packages will be directed towards repairing devastated homes and securing basic needs for impacted families. The money will be delivered within two weeks after these needs are properly mapped. In the second phase of the recovery plan, the organizations will verify that the funding has been used for the intended purposes and provide additional funding where needed. A more detailed investigation in this phase will take into account the costs of required repairs or new construction, insurance, savings, aid to families and other factors.


  1. Coordinated and equitable aid: unilateral principles underlie collection and assessment of information
  2. We aim to provide $7,000 to each family and proportional aid to municipalities as soon as possible
  3. Tailored additional funding will be provided according to need and equity criteria

A number of non-profit organizations, endowment funds and foundations have already joined this agreement: ADRA, People in Need Foundation, Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, Donio, Karel Komárek Family Foundation, Via Foundation, ČEZ Foundation, Czech Radio Endowment Fund and Karel Janeček Foundation Aid Fund. The organizations have also agreed that ADRA, People in Need Foundation and Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren will conduct mapping in the field as they are most experienced in providing humanitarian and psychosocial assistance. They will use the application Inspecto to monitor and assess damages to homes.

Here’s what leaders of the organizations had to say:

Zdenek Mihalco, Via Foundation director: “We thank all of our donors for their unbelievable generosity and trust. Our goal is to work with the other organizations to send most of the funds raised directly to the impacted families – quickly, across the board and equitably. Via Foundation has supported development of community life for many years. We are well aware that after the urgent phase of the catastrophe has been managed, it will be necessary to rebuild community gathering places and renew neighborhood spirit. We have also allocated part of the proceeds for this longer-term revitalization work.”

David Procházka, Founder of the Donio giving platform: “Donio is supporting specific families that have been devastated by this catastrophe. Over the past 5 days we have received about 150 requests for help. The need is huge but on the other hand we’re seeing an enormous number of people who want to help and have the means to help. Just over the weekend 15,000 donors gave through our initiative #SpolecneProMoravu.”

Luboš Veselý, Director of the Karel Komárek Family Foundation: “The same rule applies here: giving quickly is effective. The pillar of our foundation is the family of businessman Karel Komárek and his strong ties to the Hodonín region, which is where he’s from. To be as efficient as possible, we’ve joined forces with other organizations that have extensive experience in helping after natural disasters. Our hearts are in this effort to help Moravians and we will do everything we can to make the aid program as successful as possible.” 

Šimon Pánek, Director of People in Need foundation: “Coordinating a joint approach in a humanitarian catastrophe of this scope is essential. We need to supply the first financial aid to all of the impacted people first of all, and then in the next phase give additional funding on an as-needed basis. We don’t want this to be construed as  compensation for damages – we want it to be an investment into the future.”

Kristina Ambrožová, Director of the Diaconia of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren’s Center of Relief and Development: “At this time, acute and fast help is needed. But our experience in providing humanitarian aid after the floods has shown us that the long-term aid will be just as important. The extent of damages is huge, the recovery will take a long time and people may become exhausted physically and mentally. We are planning on working in the area for at least 2 weeks and then come back to the area for a longer period of time to map the condition of homes later on.”

Čestmír Horký, Director of the Karel Janeček Foundation Aid Fund: “Donors responded with amazing generosity and so quickly – which is so important here. In order for the funding to go where it’s needed most right now, we are using our contacts among mayors and town councillors to map the situation. Anyone can set up a fundraising drive for impacted families on our platform “znesnáze21″. We assume that some families will start asking for help later after the demolition work is finished.”

Josef Koláček, Director of Extraordinary Events, ADRA:  “In the village of Moravska Nova Ves there are many homes that are beyond repair. Some will have to be rebuilt completely so financial assistance is key right now. We will begin distributing funding as soon as we can. Residents need to have certain documents on hand to get funding, but many of them lost them in the tornado. That’s one of the problems that we’re dealing with right now but we believe the first aid packages could be sent out by next week.”

Photos by Jiří Bárta. See more photos in this album.