The Slovenia Times

Aid from abroad on its way to Slovenia

Aerial photos of the floods.
Photo: Mountain Rescue Association of Slovenia

A massive clean-up effort started in Slovenia on 7 August, the first dry day after heavy rains caused massive flooding in swathes of the country, as international aid and assistance is coming in.

Flood relief assistance in response to Slovenia's plea for help is on its way from Germany and France, as several countries have already sent humanitarian and other aid, and NATO allies have offered help as well. As a show of solidarity, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will visit the country on 9 August.

Immediate response from the EU

"After Slovenia's request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, offers of heavy excavators and engineering teams started to come in immediately," European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič announced on X, formerly known as Twitter.

France is sending two excavators with engineering units to Slovenia, while Germany is sending two prefabricated temporary bridges and two excavators with the accompanying staff.

The German Interior Ministry said Germany was sending a team from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief. The first team, specialised in rescue, is expected to arrive ton 7 August, and additional teams are expected to follow.

Lenarčič, who comes from Slovenia, called on the entire European civil protection community to respond to "this overwhelming disaster".

The EU triggered its Civil Protection Mechanism for Slovenia on 6 August, and the list of the country's needs has been sent to individual member states.

Slovenia is seeking tracked excavators of various sizes, loader excavators, vehicles specialised for management of watercourses and road clearance, all with engineering teams, and prefabricated temporary bridges up to 40 metres in length.

As the flood damage is massive, Slovenia has also asked for aid from the European Solidarity Fund. A country is eligible for this aid if damage exceeds 0.6% of its GDP.

Slovenia has also asked for the activation of the Copernicus Emergency Management Service to assist the authorities in responding to the floods and landslides and their satellite surveillance.

Several maps of the affected areas have been made as part of the effort, and a liaison officer from the Emergency Response Coordination Centre is also on the ground, the European Commission said.

NATO sending aid

Slovenia has also appealed for assistance via NATO's Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), asking for five transport helicopters, 200 soldiers to carry out protection, rescue and assistance tasks and 20 prefabricated temporary bridges.

Talking with Prime Minister Robert Golob NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO would be sending helicopters and excavators, among other things.

At Slovenia's request, EADRCC immediately informed all 31 allies and 35 partners of Slovenia's needs and they responded with immediate support, including through "helicopters, modular bridges, excavators and engineering expertise", NATO said.

Spain offered one CH-47 heavy helicopter CH-47 with up to 25 personnel, including the crew and support staff. Allies are also providing aid within the framework of the EU and on a bilateral basis. NATO pointed to Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, and France. The US has sent personnel to Ljubljana to assess the situation and determine urgent humanitarian needs.

Ukraine and Austria are among those that have offered to send helicopters, while Bosnia-Herzegovina is sending a team of military engineers with machinery and North Macedonia 100 soldiers.

Prime Minister Golob expressed gratitude for all the support, especially for the heavy helicopters that are on their way to Slovenia. This is the type of emergency aid that Slovenia needs the most, in addition to heavy engineering equipment.

Golob informed Stoltenberg of the magnitude of the damage, which is unprecedented in Slovenia's recent history. Reconstruction will be challenging and time-consuming, and Slovenia is counting on NATO's continued support, which has also been pledged by the alliance.

Donations collected by charities have arrived from several countries, including Austria and Croatia. A Croatian army helicopter has already helped plug a gash in a levee on the Mura river and a Hungarian chopper has helped with deliveries of supplies.

Efforts to restore essential services

Meanwhile, essential services are being restored to the hardest-hit parts of the country, including the northern region of Koroška, even though some of the villages remain cut off.

Črna na Koroškem, a town in the north of the country that has taken the brunt of the devastating floods, is receiving vital supplies, having been linked by means of a makeshift gravel road.

Power supply has been restored to parts of the municipality, which has a population of some 3,300, and basic healthcare is now available as well.

Elsewhere in the region efforts are under way restore water supply and road links as the pipes, roads and bridges have been swept away by flood waters. One concern is about the impact of the situation on public health.

Troops are taking over coordination of the clean-up efforts in the region and will be headquartered in Mežica, where gushing waters destroyed all eight bridges, causing devastating damage to the infrastructure.

Due to the soggy soil, the major concern in the region and elsewhere in the country is now landslides, which are threatening homes and other facilities.

The death toll from the floods and accompanying storms has risen to six after a man fell to his death while repairing the damage caused by floods in the area of Most pri Komendi in central Slovenia and a dead body was found in the swollen Temenica River in the south-east.


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