In the first week of August, heavy rainfall caused massive flooding and catastrophic damage to much of Slovenia. According to ARSO (Slovenia’s Environment Agency), more than 200 mm of rain per square meter fell in the northern and central parts of the country on August 3, which is the monthly norm in those areas. This year’s great flood was considered the worst natural disaster in the history of independent Slovenia. 181 of Slovenia’s 212 municipalities have been affected by the disaster, with property damage estimated at around €500 million.
Slovenia hit by worst floods in history
This summer, countries in Europe have experienced extreme weather conditions, including record heat waves, drought, fires and flash floods. Such extreme weather is a consequence of progressive climate change, which has been fueled by, among other things. human activities. As global warming continues, extreme weather events will occur more frequently and with greater intensity. They are already popping up in regions that were previously considered safe. This time the effects of climate change have affected a small alpine country.
In Slovenia, at the end of the first week of August, a heat wave was followed by torrential rains with thunderstorms that caused devastating floods. They resulted in landslides and damage to power and road infrastructure. At least 7 major and regional bridges were torn down. The embankment on the Mura River near the Krapje Verzej settlement has been breached. Many of the country’s rivers flooded, including the Savinja in Celje – some 4,000 had to be evacuated. individuals. The Koroska region in northern Slovenia, bordering Austria, has been most affected. Landslides on roads have cut off access to settlements. Kamnik used helicopter support and military assistance to reach isolated areas, including the Kamniška Bistrica, Črna and Bistričica valleys.
The Slovenian Defense Ministry said that according to first estimates, more than 400 buildings are completely destroyed or deemed uninhabitable. Thousands of people had to leave their homes, many were transported by helicopters and boats. A total of 8,000 people were evacuated, and 6 people lost their lives as a result of the disaster. More than 170 landslides are still active, threatening homes and infrastructure. The Slovenian Army joined the rescue efforts.
“This is the worst natural disaster in Slovenia’s recent history, affecting two-thirds of the country,” – Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob said after a meeting of the National Security Council.
Floods cause natural disaster and crisis in the country
In response to the escalation of the crisis, Slovenia has formally requested international assistance through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism and the NATO alliance. Assistance to the embattled Slovenia was provided by 10 countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, France, Germany, Slovakia and Poland.
Slovenian rescue teams were joined by helicopter crews from Hungary and Croatia to help reinforce the embankments of the Mura River and prevent further damage. Eleven modular bridges have also been offered to help restore road connections. Two German bridges have already been built in Prevalje, three Italian bridges will be set up in the Škofja Loka area, and Czech, Polish and Croatian bridges in the Upper Savinja Valley.
Slovenia has also asked for a supply of 5,000. dehumidifiers (1,000 units per 100m2 and 4,000 units per 50m2). Engineering support for the crisis-ridden country is being provided by foreign teams from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Hungary, Ukraine and Serbia.
Floods the effect of climate change
Excessive rainfall and flooding have a profound impact on the environment. Wildlife habitats in Slovenia have been destroyed and ecosystems disrupted. “It’s a huge ecological catastrophe,” with these words, fishermen from the areas most affected by the August floods describe the damage nature has caused to fisheries and nesting streams.
The Slovenian Environment Agency has designated 21 measurement points in the river basins of Sore, Pšate, Kamniška Bistrica, Gradaščica, Sava, Savinja, Drawa, Mura and Meže to monitor soil and water after floods. They will look for metal and mineral oil content in the samples taken.
It should be assumed that floods, as one of the effects of climate change, will not only be more frequent, but also more dangerous.
Photo source: Slovenska Vojska