Clearing of river beds the biggest problem in Savinja Valley

Ljubno ob Savinji/Gornji Grad/Nazarje/Mozirje/Luče, 23 August - The biggest post-floods challenge in the Upper Savinja Valley is clearing the beds of rivers, retention basins or other watercourses in the area. There is a shortage of heavy machinery and some of the mayors in the region are seeking companies' help and warning they have been left to their own devices.

Ljubno ob Savinji
The damage left in the wake of the early August floods.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

A swollen river.
Photo: Urška Kristan Kastner/STA
File photo

Ljubno ob Savinji Mayor Franjo Naraločnik told the STA on Wednesday that the municipality mainly needs excavators, lorries and other heavy machinery to restore links to areas that are still inaccessible and to clear up the beds of watercourses.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that the municipality will have to solve the issues itself, which will prolong the flood recovery. Reconstruction will not take five or ten years, but even longer, he added.

The local water supply is running smoothly, and on its own, the municipality got rid of the waste which had piled up after the floods, Naraločnik said.

What raises concerns is that the area is still shrouded in "clouds of dust", and the people would like to know how harmful it is.

There are cases of severe mental health issues in the wake of the floods with psychologists doing their best to calm people down in the face of looming rain.

In the Gornji Grad municipality, efforts to clear up the beds of watercourses before the next rain are also a priority. Heavy machinery has been provided by a subcontractor, Mayor Anton Špeh told the STA.

In another municipality in the region, Nazarje, the local authorities are attempting to clear watercourses on their own, including on the confluence of the Savinja and the Dreta, Mayor Matej Pečovnik said.

Meanwhile, the biggest problem in Mozirje is the local waste water treatment plant, which was damaged in the early August floods.

Since there is a waiting period for the needed spare parts, untreated sewage is currently being discharged into the Savinja, the STA learnt from Mayor Ivan Suhoveršnik.

The municipality of Luče, another area ravaged by the floods, is busy repairing the road leading to Ljubno, an effort that is not really in its domain since it involves a state road. The plan is to restore this road connection within a month.

The area faces difficulties in supplying shops with products, as most of the roads to Luče are still impassable, Mayor Klavdij Strmčnik told the STA.

The municipality is therefore considering pushing back the beginning of the new school year.

The Education Ministry told the STA recently it was drafting a proposal to allow a postponement of five school days in areas worst hit by the floods.

Most of the 19 primary schools that were damaged will nevertheless be able to welcome students on 1 September, but impassable roads may pose an additional problem for a few.

© STA, 2023