The Slovenia Times

Slovenians get day off to join in flood damage clean-up

Environment & Nature
Floods wreak havoc in Mežica, in the northern region of Koroška.
Photo: Mežica Municipality

The government has designated 14 August a solidarity day, giving citizens a day off to help with flood damage clean-up efforts. Announcing the decision on Instagram, Prime Minister Robert Golob said Slovenia wanted to wrap up the difficult period in the spirit of solidarity.

In a video address posted on his Instagram profile on 8 August, Golob said many initiatives and proposals had come from citizens in recent days in the face of the catastrophic floods. One of them was to declare 14 August a day off so that "we can all show to those affected by the disaster that they are not alone".

"So yes, the government decided that 14 August will be solidarity day. A day when the entire Slovenia will join forces and every one of us will contribute to the best of our abilities. I am convinced Slovenia can do that," Golob said.

Since 15 August, the Assumption of Mary, is a national holiday, Slovenians will now have four days off, the weekend included.

More than 15,000 people have expressed their readiness to help via the Floods 2023 online app since its launch on 7 August, and the number keeps growing by the minute. They can volunteer to lend a hand, be it skilled or unskilled, or provide material or machinery.

The app shows a list of services and material that the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Administration needs to help the flood-stricken areas. The greatest demand at the moment is for services and material for the repair of buildings, roads and other infrastructure.

Help is also sought in construction and mechanical work, repair of plumbing, electrical and gas installations and installation of heating devices, among others.

The country's flood relief effort has been led Civil Protection, which relies heavily on volunteers, with the support of voluntary firefighters and hundreds of volunteers from charities such as the Red Cross and Caritas.

Around 25,000 voluntary firefighters have been deployed so far, along with 787 vehicles providing the necessary disaster relief equipment, Janko Cerkvenik, the head of the Slovenian Firefighters' Association, told the Slovenian Press Agency.

The massive floods that hit the country starting on 4 August have been termed the worst natural disaster since independence. Golob has assessed the damage will cost billions of euros. Two-thirds of the country have been devastated and many people lost their homes. Six people are thought to have been killed in the storms and floods.


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