The Government approves the draft revised budget for this year
At its 63rd session today, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia approved the draft revised budget for this year. As Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said at a press conference, this will provide EUR 520 million to deal quickly and effectively with the consequences of the devastating floods.
In view of the spread of intestinal infections in the Koroška region, Nina Pirnat, Head of the Centre of Environmental Health at the National Institute of Public Health, presented emergency prevention measures in flood-affected areas, where public health risks arise due to the changed living and hygiene conditions, the lack of drinking water and the possibility of food contamination. At today's session, the Government has also started a debate on the content of the act on emergency measures. The ministries have to prepare written proposals for measures and the act is expected to be adopted by the end of the month. Petra Bezjak, Director of the Government Communications Office, outlined some of the details of the Solidarity Day.
Revising the budget to speed up aid to affected areas
Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič said that the Government had provided EUR 520 million in the revised budget to deal quickly and effectively with the consequences of the devastating floods and to provide assistance to those affected. “We have provided the funds with great effort because we are aware of the scale and urgency of the immediate assistance,” he stressed, adding that no additional state budget borrowing would be needed. He also gave assurances that the funds would be used carefully to deal with the consequences of the floods. This is also why the Ministry of Finance has opened a new sub-programme 'Disaster Relief Funds', which will allow for a transparent presentation of the implementation of crisis measures to deal with the consequences of natural disasters.
Minister Boštjančič added that the Ministry had also opened a special budget heading to collect donations from companies and individuals. The funds collected will be earmarked exclusively for flood relief. The information for donations has already been published on the Ministry of Finance's website, where you can also read all the details and rules regarding the donations. Legal and natural persons carrying out business activities will be able to claim an additional tax relief for the full amount of the donation. The act enters into force tomorrow. The relief will apply to all donations until 31 December this year. “We would like to thank in advance all those who have already donated and who will donate funds,” said the Finance Minister.
Hand disinfection and water boiling mandatory in flood-affected areas
Nina Pirnat, Head of the Centre of Environmental Health at the National Institute of Public Health, presented emergency prevention measures in flood-affected areas and said that there is a marked increase in the risk of intestinal infections in these areas. Intestinal infections can be caused by various micro-organisms, or their toxins, and can manifest as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, general malaise, headache and fever. The Institute is currently addressing an outbreak of acute intestinal infections in Črna na Koroškem. Current data show that just over ten people have sought help for diarrhoea and vomiting, but we estimate that there are many more people who have problems but do not need medical attention. To prevent infections, implementing hygiene measures is key at the moment.
Hand hygiene is extremely important, both before preparing food and before eating; people need to wash their hands before handling an infant or an elderly person. It is important for those who are intensively cleaning mud or sludge to wear protective gloves. They must wash their hands before eating and, if possible, disinfect them.
In areas where the water is not potable, or where the water-boiling measure is in place, people should only use boiled or bottled water for drinking, food preparation, washing raw fruit and vegetables as well as for brushing teeth. Of course, I particularly emphasise the use of boiled water in the preparation of baby food.
If you have water delivered by tank, you must use only dedicated containers to carry water from the tank to the household.
Certain foods, e.g. vegetables flooded with water from nearby rivers, should indeed be discarded because there is a high risk that they have become heavily contaminated with micro-organisms, chemicals or physical particles. Again, where the water-boiling measure is in place, raw fruit and vegetables must be washed in boiled water before use, even if they have not been in contact with flood water.
People working in flooded areas should check whether they have had a tetanus vaccination in the past. Pirnat also warned of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning due to the high use of generators. Generators must be used in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions and rooms where they are placed must be ventilated. Protective equipment (mask) is also essential when cleaning flooded rooms that are closed for a long time.