The Slovenia Times

PM, President Cruising Arround Checking Ice Storm Damage


The effects of the ice storm spread to the Kanal ob Soči area in the west due to the freezing rain which fell there overnight. The ice and falling trees have severely disrupted traffic and electricity supply.

Due to the fresh rain, new disruptions in power supply are being reported from across the country.

Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek assessed that power disruptions were still the biggest problem in the country as a result of the ice storm.

Visiting the north Slovenian town of Ljubno ob Savinji with Defence Minister Roman Jakič, Bratušek praised the solidarity shown by people in face of the natural disaster.

She called on companies to allow voluntary firefighters leave so that they can join relief efforts around the country.

A total of 22,000 firefighters, most of whom are part of the voluntary force, have so far been involved in the relief effort.

Bratušek also called on local authorities to work closely with the Civil Protection and Disaster Relief Agency in order to mobilise assistance. She said help from the army can only be mobilised if local authorities ask the civil protection service for such assistance.

Currently around 400 soldiers are helping with the relief efforts around the country, while more are ready for deployment depending on requests, Jakič said.

The number of households without power initially fell below 50,000 from Tuesday - public broadcaster RTV Slovenije reported that around 35,000 households were still without power in the morning - but has since risen again following overnight developments.

In the Primorsko area, which includes Kanal ob Soči, around 12,000 households are without electricity, according to distributor Elektro Primorska.

The number of households without electricity in the area around the city of Maribor rose from 2,400 to over 7,600 on Wednesday, local electricity distributor Elektro Maribor said.

A further 3,000 are without power in the Celje region.

The worst-affected area is still that of Notranjsko, south of Ljubljana. Elektro Ljubljana, which also covers part of this region, said 20,000 its customers are affected by outages.

A team of over 200 firefighters with equipment from the Pomurje region (north-east) arrived in Notranjsko to help with the clean up effort.

The damage in the region was surveyed by President Borut Pahor today again after he had already paid a visit there on Saturday.

Touring the most battered areas around Postojna, Pivka, Cerknica, Loški potok and Loška dolina, Pahor thanked everyone involved for their effort.

He said that he had discussed with the PM how the government could help in the damage repair, announcing that the cabinet would take first measures at Thursday's session.

The government already cut the excise duty on diesel fuel today because of the increased consumption for power generators and machinery used in the clean up. The measure is to be in force until 17 February.

President Pahor warned of the danger of accidents once the ice beings to thaw as people tried to clean up forests without proper expertise, skills and equipment.

Meanwhile, meteorologists have warned that the weather is not expected to stabilise for another week or so and that fresh precipitation would put even more burden on ice glazed trees and constructions.

The winds blowing from the south-west will further increase the danger of the battered trees breaking. On top of that, heavy snow is expected in the north-west this weekend.


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