Slovenia triggers EU Civil Protection Mechanism over floods
Škofja Loka, 6 August - Prime Minister Robert Golob announced on Sunday that Slovenia had triggered the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and had asked the neighbouring countries for help in the wake of devastating floods. Visiting the Škofja Loka area, one of the hardest hit parts of the country, Golob said "we are here to provide effective disaster relief effort."
The prime minister said Slovenia had initiated the mechanism in order to strengthen its forces, adding that the neighbouring countries had also been asked to help, "including their armies at those points where they can help."
This also includes helicopter lifts, Golob said, adding that "we will use this also in the cases such as Škofja Loka."
The prime minister inspected the damage done by the floods in the area together with Natural Resources and Spatial Planning Minister Uroš Brežan, Civil Defence commander Srečko Šestan and Škofja Loka Mayor Tine Radinja.
He noted that natural disaster intervention efforts were now well regulated by law and that it was known who provided the funds, adding that "we want to ensure that the people who need help indeed get it".
Golob, who will also visit the flood-hit areas in Radovljica and Medvode today, said that the government wanted to make sure that infrastructure was established and repaired as soon as possible.
He noted that the officials were also able to see in what aspects watercourse management measures in the past were successful and in what aspect they were not successful, so that "we can find effective solutions in this area."
The prime minister said it was a complex problem, "but we have started working on it, and I believe that the legislative changes that are coming in the coming weeks will be an important basis on which we can develop solutions."
Mayor Radinja said that the situation in the Škofja Loka area was still "catastrophic", with three valleys being cut off from the rest of the country. "A massive relief effort will follow, in which we will need help of the state and the EU," he added.
President Nataša Pirc Musar meanwhile visited the area of Kamnik, north of Ljubljana, assuring the residents that the state was making all resources available to repair the catastrophic damage.
Pirc Musar said that the scenes of the devastation were horrific, noting that the completely new building of the local mountain rescue service unit had been completely destroyed. "Just about everything has been swept away," she said.
The president said she had been receiving many calls from her counterparts in other countries, who are ready to help, and noted that fist shipments of humanitarian aid were already coming to Slovenia.
A list of things that Slovenia cannot provide on its own should be ready soon. "I myself will personally call presidents to help with the most urgent equipment that is not available in Slovenia or may be lacking," Pirc Musar said.
Kamnik Mayor Matej Slapar said that the heavy rains had resulted in all tributaries of Kamniška Bistrica to flood. "The situation is catastrophic, villages and valleys are virtually cut off from the world," he added.
Landslides were triggered in the valleys, and rivers carried branches and trees. First estimates put the damage at EUR 500 million, as all infrastructure has been destroyed. Some houses were washed away, and some are still at risk, Slapar said.