As floodwaters start to recede, landslides now main danger

Dravograd/Črna na Koroškem/Ljubno ob Savinji, 6 August - Floodwaters have started to recede in northern Slovenian regions hit hardest by the flooding that started on 4 August. The focus is now turning to landslides as heavy rain, which continues on Sunday, has completely waterlogged the soil. Many of the affected regions are mountainous.

Floods in the town of Mežica in the region of Koroška, one of the worst hit by flash floods.
Photo: STA

The situation appears to be worst in Koroška, in the Meža Valley and in Dravograd, where most roads remain closed due to landslides.

"We're completely cut off from the world," Dravograd Mayor Anton Preskavec told the STA. The only way they can communicate is via a single satellite dish, another is expected to arrive shortly.

In the Meža Valley, the threat of major landslide has triggered the evacuation of large parts of the valley. It is feared that if the material reaches the bottom of the river, it could create a massive dam.

In the nearby Upper Savinja Valley, upstream from Celje, landslides are appearing everywhere and many have not even been recorded, Janez Melanšek, the civil protection commander for the West Štajerska region, told the STA.

Due to the landslides rescue teams are having a hard time reaching towns including Luče and Solčava, which are close to the spring of the Savinja, just south of the border with Austria.

In Ljubno the situation remains critical. A landslide that was triggered on Saturday destroyed multiple houses and is now threatening to damage at least two more, says Mayor Franjo Naraličnik.

"The latest news we have is that another landslide has started near a farm on the top of a hil that we do not even have a telephone connection to. We'll send a helicopter there as soon as possible," he said.

Further downstream, in Mozirje, surface waters remain high and groundwater levels have risen substantially, but landslides are a major concern.

Mozirje Mayor Ivan Suhoveršnik told the STA today that many landslides are appearing all the time posing a risk to many homes. He said at least one stable had been swept away and many roads are closed.

There are however many volunteers in the municipality today and firefighters have been joined by farmers with tractors and excavators. "We're going to get a lot done today," he said.

© STA, 2023