Slovenian team deployed in flood relief effort in Italy
Slovenia has deployed a civil protection and disaster relief unit to the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna to help in the relief effort in the wake of devastating flooding that has claimed 14 lives.
Setting off from Ajdoviščina in the west of the country on 22 May, the 32-member team is equipped with two high-capacity pumps and will be in charge of flood control pumping.
"18 team members will act as operatives and the others will provide the necessary logistical support," Borut Horvat, the head of the unit, said before the departure.
Comprising experienced civil protection members from Celje and Nova Gorica, the well-equipped unit headed for Italy in a 15-vehicle convoy.
An additional six people will provide logistical support from Slovenia.
"This was practically the first team that we offered to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and truly meets the highest of standards," said Rudi Medved, a Defence Ministry state secretary.
The unit is expected to stay in Italy until 26 May. If needed, they will be replaced with a new rotation. The entire unit has 50 members, according to Leon Behin, the head of the Slovenian Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief.
The unit was deployed in response to Italy's request for help through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in the wake of what has been described as the country's worst flooding in a century.
Due to heavy rainfall more than 20 rivers burst their banks and more than 300 landslides have been reported. The floods have been wreaking havoc in several regions, with the worst damage in the provinces of Bologna, Forli-Cesena and Ravenna.
The disaster has claimed 14 lives and tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated. The supply of electricity and water, as well as telecommunication services are interrupted.
The EU has mobilised units from Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia through its mechanism.
The EU's Copernicus space observation programme has provided emergency satellite mapping of the affected areas at the request of the Italian authorities.
The weather and hydrological forecasts remain bleak, with further heavy rainfall forecast for the Emilia-Romagna region.
A prolonged spell of heavy rain also caused floods and landslides in the north-eastern Slovenia last week, rendering many of the homes uninhabitable.