The Slovenia Times

Refugee crisis operative and top bridge designer enlisted for reconstruction

Boštjan Šefic, who served as the point man for the refugee crisis in 2015, is placed in charge of the flood reconstruction effort. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

A man who was in charge of handling the 2015 refugee crisis and a globally renowned bridge engineer have been enlisted to help the relief effort in the aftermath of flooding in early August that destroyed hundreds of homes and severely damaged infrastructure in several Slovenian regions.

Boštjan Šefic was appointed a state secretary in the prime minister's office on 17 August for the purpose of overseeing and coordinating the reconstruction effort.

He is best known for his role as as state secretary at the Interior Ministry between 2013 and 2018, during which time he was in charge of refugee crisis management. He has also served as advisor to the defence minister and the national security advisor to former President Borut Pahor.

Public Administration Minister Sanja Ajanović Hovnik said Šefic would have "access to virtually all departments and will be in charge of setting priorities, so that aid and the reconstruction are effective".

Marjan Pipenbaher, best known to the general public as the designer of the Pelješac bridge in Croatia and the Črni Kal motorway viaduct in Slovenia, will be in charge of setting up a multidisciplinary advisory body, which will draw up proposals for the government regarding infrastructure repair.

The new infrastructure will need to be good and stand the test of time, therefore it would be good to pool and use all the know-how and talent Slovenia can offer, said the minister.

Pipenbaher has said that transport infrastructure and bridge design would have to take into account the effects of climate change.

When designing and building bridges across torrential rivers, building pillars in river beds will have to be avoided as much as possible. This will be more expensive but will significantly lower the risk of logjams and collapses, he said.


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