The Slovenia Times

Ice Grip Loosening, Situation Still Difficult


Electricity is being restored in the areas in western and central Slovenia hit worst by the storm, but tens of thousands are still off-grid.

The latest figures released by electricity distributors suggest about 22,000 households in the wider Ljubljana area were still without power in the afternoon, about 5,000 in Maribor, 2,000 around Celje and 1,500 in Kranj.

Hundreds of generators have been brought in from the entire country as well as from neighbouring Austria, Italy, Croatia and other EU countries so the vast majority of those affected have at least sporadic access to electricity.

Workers of power companies are working around the clock to repair broken power lines, but estimates suggest it could take weeks or even months to finish the work.

Major high-voltage transmission lines around Divača have been felled by sleet and the cost of repair is estimated at over ten million euros.

Emergency centres have been set up in several major towns in Notranjsko to provide warm meals and a warm place to stay for those left without heating and power.

An estimated 25,000 people, including firefighters, volunteer relief workers, soldiers and an estimated 1,500 electricians are on the ground.

The focus of the relief effort has now shifted to communication, as many cell towers, in particular around the worst-hit areas around Postojna and Pivka, were out of service due to lack of power, aggravating the relief effort.

The top two mobile operators, Telekom and Simobil, said today 95% of their network was up and running, though many cell towers whose power was restored fall out of service as trees continue to break power lines.

Rail traffic is also being restored, though one of the main sections, the line between Ljubljana and the Port of Koper, is still out of service and traffic on many other sections is disrupted.

Passengers have been redirected to buses but cargo has been stuck in Koper. Efforts are now under way to reroute trains north through Nova Gorica and Jesenice to free up capacity at the port, where about 170,000 tonnes of cargo is stuck.

With rain and ice now melting after temperatures rose by several degrees overnight, the main concern now is the high risk of flooding, in particular in the area around the capital Ljubljana as well as the rivers Reka and Pivka in Notranjsko.

The government has ordered the Environment Agency to start clearing debris from river beds in order to prevent major flooding as significant rainfall is forecast for the weekend.


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