Flood relief day encouraging people to lend a hand

Ljubljana, 14 August - More than a week after extreme floods hit Slovenia, authorities and volunteers continue to help out in affected areas. A further boost to the relief effort will be provided on Monday in what has been dubbed solidarity day. Even though it is a work-free day, staff in critical infrastructure, public health and some other sectors will work normally.

Volunteers helping in the post-floods clean-up effort.
Photo: Neža Petan/STA

Large numbers of volunteers are again expected in the areas devastated by the floods, so the civil protection authority has reiterated its appeal for people to register with the Floods 2023 app or make other arrangements with the authorities to help make the clean-up effort as well-organised as possible.

More than 31,000 people have so far used the aid-pooling app to express their willingness to help in the wake of what is considered the worst natural disaster on record in Slovenia. The floods severely affected roughly two-thirds of the country, destroying bridges, roads and other infrastructure, and leaving many without a home.

Landslides that followed also played a part in the devastation, and six people lost their lives in the catastrophic weather, four of whom are likely to have been killed in the floods.

The magnitude of the natural disaster has been matched by the power of solidarity, with volunteers, fundraising campaigns and international aid playing a key role in the relief effort.

Check points are set up in the worst-hit areas of Črna na Koroškem, Mežica, Solčava, Luče, Mozirje and Ljubno ob Savinji until further notice to regulate the number of volunteers in a bid to avoid any potentially risky scenarios and make sure the effort is coordinated.

Volunteers have been heeding the instructions, Civil Protection Commander Srečko Šestan said on Sunday, urging others not to visit the areas in the next few days.

There are no shortages of food or medicines, he added, and works to repair the damaged infrastructure are ongoing. For example, two temporary bridges in the northern region Koroška are due to open today.

Government representatives are expected to continue with their visits to affected areas to see the damage first-hand and express their solidarity.

Despite solidarity day being a work-free day, employees in critical infrastructure, public health, social work, veterinary services and the insurance sector are expected to work normally. Administrative units will also be open, since many people lost their ID cards or passports in the floods.

Moreover, retailers wishing to remain open will be able to do so, and if necessary, kindergartens will be providing childcare in the affected areas.

All payment systems, including 14 August transactions, will function normally.

© STA, 2023