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Minister Šarec visits Osilnica and examines the situation after heavy rainfall

Heavy rainfall, which again hit Slovenia in recent days, caused additional damage to the already affected and waterlogged areas in south-eastern Slovenia. Minister of Defence Marjan Šarec and his colleagues visited the Municipality of Osilnica, which was among the most affected by the flash floods in mid-September. The Slovenian Armed Forces will again help to remedy the consequences of the rainfall, the swollen Kolpa River and torrent streams.

The water caused the most damage to the roads that had previously been damaged in the floods two weeks ago. Several roads are again only partly or occasionally passable. The access of local residents to healthcare and other necessities of life is thus severely restricted.

After examining the situation in the affected areas, the Minister said that an engineering unit of the Slovenian Armed Forces would arrive on Monday with heavy machinery to repair the damaged roads and make them safe for use again. The Minister emphasised that the Ministry of Defence together with the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief only implements intervention measures and thus provides the necessities of life in the affected area. It is important that we have responded swiftly and efficiently, the Minister highlighted.

As this is an example of a demographically endangered municipality with a small number of residents and a low municipal budget, the situation cannot be compared with that of any other municipality in Slovenia and it is crucial that we immediately tackle the remediation of damage caused by the flood. The damage is great, as the water again washed away the already repaired stretches of road infrastructure at certain sections that had been repaired after previous floods. On this note, the Minister expressed hope that the serviceability of all roads will be enabled by the end of the year, which is possible if we work together and invest additional funds in the restoration of the transport infrastructure. The key role in this will be played by the Slovenian Infrastructure Agency, water managers and all other services that may help in the elimination of damage after the floods. The importance of prevention, especially when cleaning riverbeds and deposits, is revealed in emergency situations. In this way, floods will be less devastating, or they will not even occur in certain sections, Minister Šarec pointed out.

Alenka Kovač, the Mayor of Osilnica, also expressed hope that the remediation would be swift and take place immediately. Certain roads are barely serviceable today, making the appeal to the Ministry of Infrastructure for assistance in the restoration of the infrastructure destroyed justifiable. The Mayor thanked the Ministry of Defence for the prompt response and deployment of the Slovenian Armed Forces, which have helped already during the previous flood. She further stressed that the residents do not have access to heavy machinery to provide help, so the state’s swift and efficient assistance is exceptionally important.

Today, the Minister also examined the situation in the municipalities of Kostel and Črnomelj.