Flood destroys Romani settlement in Jarovnice, Slovakia

10 September 1998

International press reported that on July 21, a flash flood had wiped out parts of the eastern Slovak town of Jarovnice, including the Romani settlement there. Many of the children who made a series of paintings which toured internationally and became known throughout Europe died during the flooding. In reporting the event, Slovak television gave inordinate weight to assertions such as, "We now need to be especially careful of the outbreak of disease, especially from the Romani settlement", and "Roma did not assist at all in clean-up operations and left the work to soldiers instead." By Thursday July 24, the death toll had risen to 36, of whom 22-26 persons were Roma. Doctors at the site stated on July 24 that they were in urgent need of the vaccine gamma globulin, and the Ministry of Health reportedly stated that it was unable to provide enough of this vaccine for all persons who needed it.



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