PM visits Baška Grapa after Friday storms
Tolmin, 28 October - Prime Minister Robert Golob visited the Baška Grapa valley on Saturday after the area was hit by strong rain on Friday, causing flooding and triggering landslides. He underlined the need to create as soon as possible systemic foundations for natural disaster responses. Experts must have the main say, he said, promising the government's support.
He said the systemic foundation is being built with the Natural Disaster Recovery Act and the bill on reconstruction and development, legislation coming in the wake of devastating floods that his Slovenia in early August.
The Natural Disaster Recovery Act has already been enacted, while the bill on reconstruction and development is now in public discussion. Golob expects the bill will be sent to parliament and passed by the end of November.
"I am confident that this is the way in which we can provide the most appropriate help to the people and the municipalities that were affected," said Golob, as he visited Baška Grapa alongside Boštjan Šefic, head of the government service for post-flood reconstruction, and Civil Protection commander Srečko Šestan.
He believes the bill on reconstruction and development will allow Slovenia to plan "how to get back on our feet after natural disasters" in the next five years.
The prime minister moreover thanked firefighters, civil protection members and police officers who had been "very active in the past 24 hours".
Tolmin Mayor Alen Červ shared the view that Slovenia needed systemic and preventive solutions. He believes natural disasters will only become more frequent in the future and the country should be better prepared.
Červ said that he and Golob had found some solutions today and called on the government to adopt appropriate solutions in waterways management and to maintain the road networks. He is hopeful that the bill on reconstruction and development will bring systemic preventive solutions.
Červ said that the Baška Grapa valley and the town of Idrija pri Bači were the worst-hit areas in the Tolmin municipality. Yesterday, the damage was being repaired by 20 heavy machinery units, said Červ, while also expressing the wish that concession holders would show better response.
The upper part of the valley is currently only accessible from the Gorenjska region, as a 50-metre section of the road was swept away between the villages of Hudajužna and Podbrdo. Under an agreement between the municipality and the Ministry of Infrastructure, the road will reopen by Tuesday for alternating one-way traffic.
Červ said the greatest fear now was new landslides. "The soil is soaked and a new round of heavy rain is forecast for Tuesday."