Extent and Significance of International Assistance in the Wake of the Worst Floods in Slovenia
At the end of the first week of August, heavy rainfall across much of Slovenia resulted in catastrophic floods and devastation. Slovenian rescue teams were joined by helicopter teams from neighbouring Hungary and Croatia on August 7th and 8th to help fortify the Mura River embankments and prevent further destruction.
Solidarity and support from the international community continued, triggering promptly after the end of the weather calamity, allowing us to commence flood aftermath recovery efforts. On August 6th, Slovenia formally requested international assistance through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism and the NATO alliance. Our initial requests were for heavy machinery, helicopters, and modular bridges. Subsequent requests included dehumidifiers and a temporary mobile solution for a nursery that we need in Mengeš. Due to an exceptional response, the request for helicopter aid could be closed within a few days, and after ten days, the request for construction machinery aid was also closed.
Helicopter assistance was provided by Hungary (1), Croatia (1), Germany (2), Serbia (2), Spain (1), and Austria (2). Between August 7th and 16th, these nine helicopters collectively flew for 195 hours, transporting 305 tons of cargo and 675 individuals.
Heavy construction machinery aid, along with the associated equipment and teams, is being provided by Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Croatia, Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Italy. Over 300 civilian and military personnel have been or are still working at sites in over 15 areas across the country, including locations such as Solčava, Nazarje, Braslovče, Kamnik, Mengš, Komenda, Škofja Loka, Prevalje, Črna na Koroškem, Dravograd, and Mežica. With 30 excavators and over a hundred other machines and vehicles, they are removing debris and landslides, cleaning and maintaining riverbeds, clearing mud from buildings, repairing roads, transporting drinking water and fuel to areas with destroyed infrastructure. They have also assisted in transporting donations, including transporting hay bales from Pragersko to livestock in Mežica.
The majority of international aid personnel are based at the Rečica ob Savinji base, except for the Italian unit, which is stationed in Škofja Loka. They operate in line with the directives of Civil Protection, responsible for coordinating international assistance.
Five countries have offered us eleven modular bridges, which will help reconnect primarily municipal roads. Both German bridges have already been set up in Prevalje, and three Italian bridges will be set up shortly in the Škofja Loka area, along with three Czech, two Polish, and one Croatian bridge in the Upper Savinja Valley. The Slovenian Army ensures connectivity and bridges on state roads.
Material and financial international aid have continuously flowed into Slovenia. In addition to countries, international humanitarian organizations, companies, and individuals have provided aid. It's difficult to list all the donors in one place, but we sincerely thank them all. These challenging moments become more manageable, especially when we realize that other countries and people are also facing similarly severe situations and are ready to stand by our side.