Further international aid arriving in Slovenia

Ljubljana, 10 August - International aid continues to arrive in Slovenia after the country was devastated by last weekend's extreme floods. Aid from Austria, Serbia and Poland arrived on Wednesday, and assistance in the form of Macedonian troops is on its way. Italy has also sent help, and Germany is helping build a modular bridge in Koroška.

Massive clean-up efforts are underway after devastating floods hit Slovenia.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

The international aid so far has been mostly heavy machinery and expert crews.

Since Wednesday the Austrian military has been helping with two helicopters, which in cooperation with the Slovenian Armed Forces flew over the northern Koroška region, one of the worst-hit areas, to ascertain the situation on the ground.

The helicopters also transported dozens of experts to the affected areas to help repair the electricity grid, and around nine tonnes of cargo, including food, medicine, drinking water, shovels and other tools.

The Austrian motorway company ASFINAG will help in Solčava, a village in the Upper Savinja Valley close to the Slovenian-Austrian border, Slovenian motorway company DARS said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

ASFINAG has sent three of its personnel members and two excavators to Solčava, the Austrian Press Agency APA reported.

Meanwhile, the Macedonian government has deployed 100 soldiers to Slovenia via the NATO disaster response mechanism. They are on their way to Slovenia and are expected to stay for 30 days, said the Macedonian Press Agency MIA.

A total of 22 troops and two helicopters were deployed from Serbia on Wednesday and are already helping in the relief effort. Today, the Serbian authorities also sent a convoy of eight tanks - four for fuel and four for water - and 34 additional troops, the Serbian Press Agency TANJUG said.

The Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted a decision at today's emergency meeting to deploy two protection and rescue teams to Slovenia, the Sarajevo-based N1 news portal reported.

Slovakia will help the flood-stricken Slovenia by sending four excavators and relevant crews, according to the Slovakian Press Agency TASR, while the Polish Press Agency PAP reported that Poland has deployed a team of experts to Slovenia to help asses the damage.

'We're ready to send a team of 50 people as well. Such a large team is needed to build a bridge on the site designated by the Slovenian authorities," Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Wednesday.

Italy has sent a team of experts and volunteers, three temporary bridges and four excavators to Slovenia under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Italian Civil Protection said on Wednesday. It has also offered to send additional experts and one more excavator.

In the Slovenian region Koroška, where floods cut off certain areas from the rest of the country last weekend, experts have been busy repairing road infrastructure, including setting up modular bridges.

In Mežica, the Slovenian military is building one such temporary bridge and is expected to finish it by Saturday, while in Prevalje the restored bridge connection is expected to be set up by Sunday. Another modular bridge will be set up in Dravograd as well.

A modular bridge over the Meža River in Prevalje will be build as part of Germany's assistance to Slovenia. It will be erected by members of the Federal Agency for Technical Relief, a cornerstone of civil protection in Germany which helps deal with natural disasters.

The team was deployed to Slovenia under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the German embassy in Ljubljana said, adding that Germany would provide two 40-metre temporary bridges and excavators.

Germany is showing solidarity with its partner country Slovenia and will keep supporting it to the best of its ability, German Ambassador Adrian Pollmann said, underlining that the construction of the first temporary bridge in Prevalje would be a sign that the reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure is proceeding quickly.

So far, Slovenia has received or been promised aid also from Croatia, Hungary, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Czechia, Montenegro, Ukraine, the US and the EU, reads a post on the Slovenian government's website.

© STA, 2023