Evacuations continuing, including of foreign tourists

Ljubljana/Dravograd, 5 August - While the exact number of people who have been evacuated due to flash floods and landslides is not yet known, Civil Protection commander Srečko Šestan has said thousands have been evacuated, including airlifted with police and miliatary helicopters, with more evacuations under way. Relief teams are also bringing locals the most urgent supplies.

Tolsti Vrh
Damage by floods in Tolsti Vrh near the town of Ravne na Koroškem in the northern region of Koroška.
Photo: Dravograd Municipality

Tolsti Vrh
Damage by floods in Tolsti Vrh near the town of Ravne na Koroškem in the northern region of Koroška.
Photo: Dravograd Municipality

Črna na Koroškem, a town in a narrow valley in the northern region of Koroška, remains fully cut off, not having been yet reached even by helicopter.

Šestan told the press on Saturday in Ljubljana that problems with supplies such as food and water may occur there.

"We're currently checking the situation in the municipality to see what they need most," he said, adding there were similar problems in other areas there.

Some 2,000 litres of diesel for powering the generators was ready to be taken by helicopter to Koroška this morning, he said.

"In Rečica ob Savinji, in the upper Savinja Valley, alone, we provided food and accommodation for 1,000 people, mostly tourists, last evening."

As many as 650 foreigners were accommodated in the area of Trbovlje because of road closures last evening, but they have already left for home.

"A pregnant woman is currently being evacuated with a helicopter," said Šestan.

With water damaging many bridges, he said that all bridges will be have to be inspected once this is possible to see in what condition they are.

Inspections are already under way in some areas, and the authorities are considering setting up pontoon bridges.

Civil Protection teams are also helping natinal telco Telekom Slovenije restore telecommunications lines, and power utilities in efforts to restore electricity supply as thousands remain without power in Koroška and in the Savinja Valley.

The situation remains critical also in Dravograd, a Koroška town at the confluence of the swollen Drava, Meža and Mislinja rivers.

The main roads are unpassable, bridges broken, including one over the Mislinja at Otiški Vrh on the main road towards Slovenj Gradec, Koroška's capital.

More than 110 people were evacuated due to landslides, including tourists, and many locals are without power and drinking water.

"Yesterday, the municipality of Dravograd experienced an apocalypse of truly biblical proportions," is how Mayor Anton Preksavec described the situation for the STA, and which is true for many Slovenian municipalities.

The evacuated people were accommodated at a former hotel and a mansion while others found refuge at their relatives or friends. A kitchen has been organised at the local primary school in Dravograd.

Although the Drava's water volumes are not critical, those of the Meža and Mislinja and their tributaries are.

The municipality has also asked for help from the Slovenian Armed Forces.

© STA, 2023