Tragedy Met with Resilience
By Casey Conniff
On Thursday, June 24th, the first tornado in central Europe since 2018 ripped through the Czech Republic. The tornado touched down near the south-eastern border of the country in the Breclav and Hodonin districts. Winds were reported to have reached up to 206 mph (332 kph) and were accompanied by baseball-sized hail stones. A state of emergency was declared and the damage was immense.
At least six people were killed and more than 150 people injured. Over 1,000 homes were damaged and over 120,000 people were left without power, some being told that their power may not return for weeks. In the village of Hrusky, at least one third of all houses were destroyed. Rescue teams were deployed from across the country as well as the neighboring countries of Austria and Slovakia with 360 police officers from the Czech Republic alone.
Despite all of the chaos, recovery and aid efforts began flowing in with the same ferocity as the storm did. Multiple charities, groups, and government relief programs have rushed to fill the need that has arisen. Nadace Via, one charity that is raising money for the Czech Republic, raised more than 110 million crowns (over 5 million USD) in less than 24 hours from donations by 95,000 people. As of Tuesday morning, funds have reached over 185 million crowns (over 8.5 million USD) and continue to grow. Another charity that has gained a lot of attention is the Diocese Charity Brno that currently boasts almost 200 million crowns (9.3 million USD).
The aid effort has not been restricted only to the Czech Republic or even central Europe but has spread into a global effort. Look across the Facebook pages of countless Czech groups abroad in the United States and you will find messages mourning the tragedy and sharing ways to donate and help rebuild. Fundraising efforts span much larger than the two charities mentioned above including churches, the Czech Army, other foundations, and the Czech Red Cross. There has been no shortage of people and organizations looking to help out in the wake of the storm.