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Slovenia floods 'worst-ever natural disaster'

Severe floods have caused the loss of at least six lives and inflicted $500 million in property damages in Slovenia.

By Ground report
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Slovenia floods 'worst-ever natural disaster'

Severe floods and unfavourable weather conditions have caused the loss of at least six lives and inflicted around $500 million in property damages in Slovenia.

Slovenia's Prime Minister, Robert Golob, declared on Saturday that the flooding, which commenced on Friday, constitutes the most catastrophic natural disaster in the nation's history.

Rivers overflow, floods devastate Slovenia

The floods have led to the swelling and overflow of rivers, inundating fields and towns, causing extensive harm to roads and vital infrastructure. The spokesperson from the Slovenian Environmental Agency stated that the country has witnessed extensive devastation, with the equivalent of a month's worth of rainfall occurring within a single day.

Prime Minister Golob surveyed the affected regions on Sunday and reiterated that Slovenia had already appealed for assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and from neighboring countries to address the flood crisis.

Golob stated during his visit to Škofja Loka, where the situation was deemed "highly concerning," that the focus is on orchestrating a successful recovery. He emphasized that the intervention strategies are well-structured, detailing responsibilities, procedures, and resource allocation.

Golob's visit to Medvode on Sunday underscored the government's commitment to ensuring assistance reaches the most vulnerable populations, as highlighted in an official statement. He reassured the affected residents that they won't be left unsupported. The government has allocated slightly over $10 million in humanitarian aid to Slovenian Red Cross and Caritas Slovenia to aid those in the impacted areas.

Slovenia seeks global aid assistance

Slovenia has sought international aid through EU and NATO channels, including requests for heavy machinery to clear debris, engineering teams, temporary road solutions, and bridges up to 40 meters (31 feet) in length.

Moreover, the Slovenian government has requested military helicopters for transport assistance and the deployment of 200 soldiers to engage in protection, rescue, and support operations, according to a statement released on Sunday.

Croatia has extended help by deploying a military helicopter to fortify and secure a breached levee on the Mura River, alongside reinforcing its embankments.

The Slovenian government's efforts to garner international support are being coordinated through the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief. Ongoing collaboration with aid coordination centers in Brussels is ensuring a unified and effective response to the crisis.

Flood toll & damage 

Slovenia is grappling with the aftermath of its most devastating disaster on record, with estimated damages reaching approximately €500 million. The catastrophe has claimed the lives of at least six individuals, as confirmed by both government sources and media outlets.

A study conducted in 2008 refuted claims that the damage was attributed to climate change. This was due to the fact that torrential floods occur in specific Slovenian regions roughly every three years on average, and more substantial floods happen at least once a decade.

The study highlighted that the Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia issued over a thousand permits for interventions in water-regulated areas. Government decrees even sanctioned construction in riparian zones, contradicting the Water Law's supposed prohibition.

The study's authors cautioned that without the implementation of more appropriate spatial planning policies, the mitigation of future flood-related repercussions would become increasingly challenging.

A study examining the socio-economic impacts of river floods in the European Union, considering climate and socio-economic changes, projected that European countries, including Slovenia, might need to allocate a substantial portion of their current GDP to counteract forthcoming flooding consequences due to socio-economic and climate shifts.

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