The Hungarian Disaster Relief Commission has ruled on the allocation of HUF 1.5 billion, which will be used for the rebuilding, development and rehabilitation of Devecser, Kolontár and Somlóvásárhely. The rebuilding of the settlements stricken by the red sludge disaster is going according to plan, and is on schedule to be complete by the end of June.

The Government is providing accommodation and replacement of personal property, and charity organisations are also providing aid: thus the Hungarian Disaster Relief Fund is able to channel all the donations it has received into development and the reestablishment of the communities.

Since its establishment on 31March, the Hungarian Disaster Relief Fund has received a total of more than HUF 1.95 billion (which has accrued interest). Of this, the three worst- affected settlements (Devecser, Kolontár and Somlóvásárhely) have already received HUF 155.224 million in support.

According to the allocation plan adopted by the Hungarian Disaster Relief Commission, the settlements will receive a further HUF 1.5 billion in support, which can be channelled towards their revitalisation and development. The exact nature of the projects and developments which will be realised as a result of this support will be decided in the coming weeks by the Disaster Relief Commission, taking into account the needs of the settlements.

Jenő Lasztovicza, Chairman of the Commission said: ‘The aim is that the disaster-stricken area should once more be liveable as soon as possible, and that life in the affected settlements should regain its “full value”. To revive the communities, it is important that the assistance is given not only to those who have housing needs, but also those whose livelihoods and immediate environment are endangered’. The Hungarian Disaster Relief Fund is directing donations towards the development of the settlements, job creation and the restoration of liveability (e.g. landscaping, the renovation of public institutions and public spaces, and the creation of industrial parks).

The most recent decision of the Disaster Relief Commission was to direct HUF 1.05 billion of support to Devecser Town Council, HUF 300 million to Kolontár Council and HUF 150 million to Somlóvásárhely Council. The allocation of the remainder will be the subject of future decisions, based on the needs of the settlements as they arise.

The rebuilding work is proceeding according to plan, and is expected to be complete by the deadline of 30 June. The Government is providing assistance to everybody whose residence has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable, either through the building or purchase of new housing, or through other forms of damage mitigation. So far a total of 289 contracts for support have been agreed with disaster victims. The building of residential parks in Kolontár and Devecser is progressing rapidly.

Demolition work in the area is also proceeding according to schedule. By 29 March a total of seventy-one properties had been demolished, and the rubble from these had been transported away. The rehabilitation of central areas has now been completed in its entirety. Salvage and recultivation work is being carried out in affected areas on a continuous basis.