Flood damage in Slovenia estimated at over €500M

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Two-thirds of Slovenia has been affected by flash floods in the last several days, with the resulting damage likely to exceed half a billion euros, the country’s Prime Minister Robert Golob said.

He called the flooding the “worst natural disaster” in the country’s history, the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) reported.

The flooding, which started Thursday evening, has resulted in landslides and at least three deaths as of Friday, according to the Associated Press. Houses have been swept away, bridges and roads have been destroyed and water supply has been cut off in some parts of the country. Golob will not be declaring an emergency for now, according to STA.

“Heartbreaking to follow the devastation caused by colossal floods in Slovenia,” tweeted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“The EU is by the side of the Slovenian people. We will mobilize support as needed.” EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič, who is Slovenian, is already in Ljubljana to discuss the situation with the Slovenian government, von der Leyen said.

At a press conference Saturday, representatives from the Slovenian environment and water agencies said the weather situation is “slowly calming down” and the weather warning has been downgraded to yellow. Still, their statement stressed that the “situation on the ground is serious: rivers are still overflowing in most parts of the country, but the situation is not deteriorating as drastically as it did yesterday.”

Late Saturday night, authorities started an evacuation of the Meža Valley due to what local media reported to be a major landslide looming upstream of Črna na Koroškem, one of the towns worst hit by the massive flooding. Flash floods have also been reported in neighboring Austria.

This comes after weeks of weather chaos in Europe. Scientists say climate change will fuel extreme precipitation or flash flooding in some parts of the globe — although not all such events are attributable to global warming. 

A view on a damaged road in Skofja Loka town in Slovenia, 06 August 2023.Slovenia has been hit by flash floods following heavy torrential rains on 04 August. The country has faced the biggest natural disaster in its history‘ said Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob on 05 August. Slovenian Government estimated the damage of roads, energy infrastructure, as well as hundreds of homes is likely to exceed 500 million euros. EPA-EFE/ZIGA ZIVULOVIC JR

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