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More than half a billion euro to help people, businesses and municipalities to recover from floods

It has been two months since the catastrophic floods that took place on 4 August. Floods and landslides affected 183 of Slovenia's 212 municipalities, with 104 municipalities severely impacted. The total area affected is estimated at 17,203 square kilometres. To date, the Slovenian Government has provided EUR 515.9 million to help people, municipalities and the economy.

The floods in August caused 9.9 billion euros worth of damage | Author STA

Restoration of the affected areas will be long and extremely complex, as the internationally recognised Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) methodology has estimated the total direct damage resulting from the disaster and its consequences for the affected population, economy and environment at around EUR 9.9 billion. The estimate presented covers all aspects of the natural disaster: from ensuring replacement of buildings, rehabilitation of watercourses, restoration of infrastructure, protection and restoration of cultural heritage facilities, to waste disposal and management.

Since the first day after the catastrophic floods, the Government has been implementing a series of measures at many levels. The main priority is to help the population. In the first weeks after the disaster, we helped mainly by providing temporary accommodation and funds for the basic necessities of life, but going forward assistance will mainly come in the form of funds to rebuild damaged and replace destroyed homes. We want to provide safe and permanent accommodation for people whose homes have been permanently damaged by the storm, and to rebuild damaged facilities and nature with the highest possible degree of efficiency, sustainability and quality. Yesterday also saw the first disbursements of extraordinary cash assistance in the form of solidarity aid, as provided for in the intervention measures for recovery from the floods. Solidarity aid amounting to EUR 18,057,953.08 was paid to 2,741 recipients. The next payment of solidarity aid will take place on 20 October 2023. In addition, the Government has set up a call centre on the telephone number 114, which individuals in the affected areas can contact for advice or assistance.

The Government is also helping with faster reimbursement of funds to municipalities, which have carried out the first part of the rehabilitation of public and private infrastructure as part of the intervention works, and the Government has already started planning for permanent solutions. The preparation of these is being led by experts from a wide range of backgrounds in spatial planning, water management and civil engineering.

Many businesses and companies were also affected by the August floods. The Government's assistance to the economy is aimed at repairing the damage as quickly as possible and, as a result, keeping people employed and getting business back on track.

The Government is working intensively on a reconstruction and development act, the main purpose of which is to ensure effective reconstruction. A Post-Flood and Landslide Reconstruction Office has also been set up to coordinate the work of ministries and provide expert and organisational assistance at the local level. Given the extraordinary scale of the consequences of the August disaster, the Government is also intensifying its work on the financial architecture of the reconstruction. In the first days after the floods a special budget line was opened for donations, including from abroad, activities aimed at obtaining European funds were stepped up and the current Cohesion Programme, which ends this year (2014–2020), and the programmes for the following years were adjusted accordingly, this year's state budget was revised and proposed adjustments to the budgets for the next two years were adopted.

The actions implemented so far are listed below, broken down by thematic segments.

Aid to the population

  • Humanitarian aid through Karitas and the Slovenian Red Cross
  • Extraordinary cash social assistance to all injured parties, regardless of their financial situation
  • Extraordinary cash assistance to cover the cost of rented accommodation
  • Market rent subsidy
  • Amendments to the value of property for the annual rights to access public funds
  • From 4 August 2023 to 31 December 2023, flood victims are entitled to free kindergarten services and school meals
  • The possibility for all flood victims who have suffered more than EUR 10,000 in damage to apply for a loan deferral of up to 12 months or for a consumer credit deferral of up to 24 months
  • Solidarity aid for personal assistants and other employees of personal assistance providers working in personal assistance activities
  • Individual customers whose home is damaged to the extent that they no longer receive electricity or natural gas shall not pay their electricity or natural gas bills until the supply is restored
  • Until 31 December 2023, the limitation on the amount of temporary and occasional work for pensioners is lifted
  • Call centre counselling at 114
  • Exceptional allocation of non-profit housing for rent
  • Emergency accommodation for people aged over 65 and adults with mental and physical disabilities who, due to their age, disability or chronic illness, are unable to take care of themselves and cannot be provided with non-institutional care due to the consequences of the floods and landslides
  • Psychosocial support
  • Conducting individual interviews with 222 families whose estimated damage exceeds EUR 150,000

Assistance to municipalities

  • 100% reimbursement of intervention costs
  • Reimbursement of intervention costs to protection, rescue and relief forces
  • Reimbursement of wage compensation to employers for workers
  • Providing up to 40% upfront reimbursement of funds to carry out remediation measures, based on a preliminary assessment of damage to property
  • Replacement of damaged bridges with temporary prefabricated bridges: 11 prefabricated bridges have already been erected, with three more coming in October
  • Government assistance in the removal of contaminated silt and land remediation

Assistance for the economy, entrepreneurs and the self-employed

  • 80% furlough subsidy for employers who are temporarily unable to provide work for their employees due to the effects of the floods, and subsidies for staff absent due to force majeure
  • Reimbursement of salaries paid to companies whose employees will be involved in flood and landslide remediation efforts
  • Measures to preserve the liquidity of businesses, tax breaks and, in agreement with energy suppliers, adjusting the price of certain energy products for business customers affected by the floods
  • Faster recruitment of foreign workers
  • The possibility of refundable and non-refundable funds to repair the damage (new amendment of the Natural Disaster Recovery Act)
  • Until 31 December 2023, monthly aid of EUR 760 to EUR 1,200 for self-employed workers whose turnover has been reduced by 25% as a result of the floods

Aid to agriculture, forestry and aquaculture

  • Compensation of 50% of the estimated damage under the flood recovery programme
  • Until the end of 2023, monthly aid of EUR 760 to EUR 1,200 for farmers who are unable to carry out their activities or whose activities are significantly reduced as a result of the floods
  • Tax relief for farmers due to damage caused to their land in the form of a reduction in cadastral income
  • Co-financing of insurance premiums for the insurance of agricultural production and those agricultural products whose production is affected to the extent of 80% or more
  • De minimis aid for 100% destroyed agricultural crops and for all means of production (permanent crops and breeding livestock) destroyed or otherwise totally lost
  • One-off solidarity aid of EUR 668.21 in the event of damage to property
  • Exemption from concession fees in 2023 and the first instalment in 2024 for inland fisheries management providers
  • Subsidising furlough and employee absences due to force majeure
  • Exemption from the fee for the maintenance of forest roads during their closure, reduction of the cadastral income from these lands
  • At the taxable person's request, a reduction in the tax base for cadastral income from forest land restored or afforested by the taxable person

Financial evaluation of measures

  • Extraordinary cash social assistance payments: EUR 43.2 million
  • Humanitarian aid through the Slovenian Red Cross and Karitas (8,500 applications): EUR 10 million
  • 40% of the financial resources provided in advance for the implementation of the rehabilitation measures, based on a preliminary assessment of the damage to property: EUR 222 million
  • 100% reimbursement of intervention costs (138 municipalities): EUR 95 million
  • Reimbursement of intervention costs to protection, rescue and relief forces: EUR 11.5 million
  • Reimbursement of wage compensation to employers for workers or volunteers: EUR 5 million
  • Advance payments or immediate aid to remediate damage to the economy: EUR 31.8 million
  • Reallocation of funds to the Slovenian Water Agency for the restoration of watercourses and water infrastructure works: EUR 47 million
  • Reallocation of funds to the Slovenian Infrastructure Agency for the implementation of intervention measures on road and rail infrastructure: EUR 50.4 million