The Slovenia Times

Slovenia in Massive Flood Relief Response


Thanking everyone involved for their prompt and efficient help, Slovenia's outgoing PM Alenka Bratušek urged people on Monday to collect donations through the main charities or the affected countries' embassies to ease the delivery.

Addressing reporters after a meeting with the ambassadors of Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia and humanitarian organisations, Bratušek pledged the government would respond to any potential further request for help after it had already sent staff and equipment to the inundated regions.

The Slovenian army will transport the humanitarian aid collected in Slovenia in a convoy to Serbia and Bosnia, the outgoing Defence Minister Roman Jakič said after the meeting, expressing hope that Croatia would not get in a situation of needing help as well.

Over the weekend, the Slovenian police helicopter deployed in Bosnia evacuated more than 70 people and transported more than two tonnes of medications and other basics, while the Slovenian army chopper rescued more than 100 lives, including of many children.

Slovenia also sent teams with powerful water pumps to Serbia on Friday, as well as boat rescue teams to Bosnia. As flood waters have begun to recede, Jakič said that Serbia no longer needed manpower, while Bosnia has asked Slovenia to extend its helicopter deployment.

Meanwhile, the massive humanitarian drive to collect food, bottled water, clothing, baby supplies and other necessities has been joined by basketball stars Radoslav Nesterović and Goran Dragić, both of them second generation of immigrants from former Yugoslavia.

People responded within hours through different associations, religious communities and organisations, some of them getting organised on their own, so that many lorries packed with supplies were dispatched to both Serbia and Bosnia over the weekend.

Moreover, the Slovenian Red Cross announced Monday that a donation of EUR 25,000 will be sent to each Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. All Red Cross divisions across Slovenia are collecting food and clothes to be sent to the flood-hit areas immediately.

Meanwhile, the National Council President Mitja Bervar has been paying a working visit to Serbia on Monday meeting with Speaker Maja Gojkovič who expressed gratitude for Slovenia's quick help in the disastrous floods.

President Borut Pahor phoned Bosnia's presidency chairman Bakir Izetbegović and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić today. He underlined Slovenia's solidarity to both countries, Pahor's office said, adding that the president will visit both countries in the upcoming weeks.

It is expected that he will visit the flood-hit areas where the Slovenian Army members and volunteers are helping in the relief and rescue missions.

The flood wave, which inundated swathes larger than Slovenia, claimed at least 17 lives in Serbia and 27 in Bosnia-Herzegovina, plus one in Croatia, while the authorities fear the death toll could rise.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina alone, more than 100,000 houses have been ruined and about a million of citizens, which is more than a quarter of the nation, have no drinking water.


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