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Plea for help

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  • J&J Sobota
    To all bookbinding organizations and everyone in the book community! This is The Society of Czech Bookbinders pleading for help! Dear Friends, As You probably
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 21, 2002
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      To all bookbinding organizations and everyone in the book community!

      This is The Society of Czech Bookbinders pleading for help!

      Dear Friends,

      As You probably know from the recent news that the Czech Republic has been affected by a very bad flood. There are many cities, towns and villages with houses ruined, and thousands of people with no place to go. Even though water is already slowly disappearing, there are enormous problems. Many houses have had their foundations so disturbed that they must be demolished. Water has ruined transportation - Prague's subway is mostly damaged and it will take months to be repaired. Roads and railways are damaged as well. There is no electricity or gas in many places.

      Plumbing at many places is ruined, which means that the water is dangerous, because of waste and sewage getting in it. People are cleaning areas where stuff was piled up by water, they are cleaning deep mud.

      Fortunately, many neighboring countries are helping: firefighters from Germany with heavy machines are helping pumping out water from houses. Pumps and dehumidifiers were send by Belgium, Sweden etc. People from unaffected parts of the Czech Republic as well as people from other countries are helping with cleaning. This is dangerous and must be supervised, because there is risk of illnesses caused by germs in water and mud.

      There are dead animals all over. It is just awful. Rescuers have had little sleep. Most people are brave and have been trying their best to keep in a relatively good mood, although some of the affected people are depressed. I have seen men crying. One man had built his house by himself. It took him 25 years. Now, there is nothing. One young mother gave birth to her daughter one day and second day flood came and they lost their house (with loan still on it). The young mother told the reporter that this is nothing, she is happy to have her daughter healthy.

      The Czech National Library was flooded. Valuable books are damaged. There are not enough resources to restore them now, neither is there money for it now. The library is freezing books for the future, hoping to restore them sometime. There are several bookbinders among people whose houses were ruined by flood.

      I will illustrate the situation of one of the best Czech designer binders, Lada Hodny:

      Lada and his family have their house in city of Tyn above river Vltava. The house is just across the street from the river.

      They told us about their horrible experience! When the first wave of flood came, water was very wild. Their house got flooded only about 10 centimeters at the ground floor level. Their two sons had managed to carry all of the important stuff from the bookbinding studio. They put it upstairs, in the first floor rooms.

      They also said that water was very wild, as I have already mentioned. It was running fast, taking summer cottages with (it is area with thousands summer cottages around Vltava, because river at that part is a very attractive place for vacationing). There were all kind of big items floating with running water: whole cottages, refrigerators, cars, dead animals, etc.

      Lada and his family thought that flood had ended but then the second wave of the flood came. This time, the water was not so wild, but it rose very quickly - so high that it was up to roofs of houses around the river. They realized that they had to get into the house. They had to convince police, who had guarded this evacuated area, to let them swim under the water to get into the house. All of their things were ruined already, but there was a cat and a parrot who had to be saved. One son swam under the water and got to a higher floor, where the animals were. He got there, took the cat and parrot, and handed them through window to his brother, who was waiting in a boat.

      They couldn't go there for a week to see all of the damage. They had to wait until the water receded. They could only watch helplessly from a higher place. They could see their courtyard - there was water up to the second floor of their house. There was all of the wood which they had ready for winter, the refrigerator, microwave and other items floating on water surface, covering it so it looked like wooden floor. Water was decreasing, but very slowly.

      This was a few days ago. Today I talked to Lada again. He said that he was just cleaning the house. Since morning, they filled up ten containers with ruined stuff. All his bookbinding material is gone, all leather, gold, boards, cloth, paper, etc. All his paintings, all collection of graphic are gone. All their furniture, TV, refrigerator etc. The new wooden floors are ruined. They are not sure if the ceilings and floors will fall down.

      In most houses in their area, floors/ceilings have already collapsed, so people will have no place to live. They must stay in their friends' and relatives' apartments and houses until their houses or apartments are repaired, which may take years. Just now, there are thousands of people living in school dormitories and similar places. Schools must start later. There are not enough apartments at all for this situation. There has been shortage of apartments in Czech Republic already, so now, it is just horrible.

      This is a reason why the Society of Czech Bookbinders is organizing help. We are pleading with everybody who could help, please, do so.This help is for both The Czech National Library and Czech bookbinders who lost their houses in flood.

      Even small amounts of money help, if there will be enough sympathetic people. Czech currency is low and therefore even $20.- is a big help, it is 600.- Czech Corona. You could get a new refrigerator for 10,000.- Czech Corona, so if 17 people send $20.- each, Lada can buy new refrigerator. Or stove. Or two used beds, etc. Please, help if you can.

      If you are willing to help, please, send check issued to Spolecenstvo ceskych kniharu (the Society of Czech Bookbinders in translation). You can send the check in any currency, as the society has a foreign currency account. Your personal check is welcomed.

      Please, mail it to the Society bookkeeper:

      Klara Voctarova

      Spolecenstvo ceskych kniharu

      392 Olbrachtova

      25001 Brandys nad Labem


      Flood pictures are at www pages:


      I have scanned also pictures from newspapers. One picture looks like Lada Hodny's house under water of Vltava river. They are at www address:


      Thank you in advance for your understanding.

      Here are additional contact E-mail addresses:

      Bookeeper: Voctarova, Klara- k.voctarova@...

      President of the Society: Brancovsk�, Jind�ich- j.brancovsky@...

      With best wishes,

      For the Society of Czech Bookbinders, Jarmila Sobotova

      J&J Sobota
      Radnicni 1
      35733 Loket
      Czech Republic

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