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A man walks through the destruction caused by the floods: thousands of civil protection operations


In Slovenia, storms have been causing severe damage for days, and now there are more emergencies. In the east of the country, a dam broke to protect against flooding on the Mur River. Around 500 people had to be rushed from the village of Dolnja Bistrica to safety, reports state television RTV Slovenija. Further floods are also feared in Austria and Croatia.

Another nine villages were endangered because of the dam burst on the Mur, said the commander of the civil protection, Srecko Sestan. Attempts are now being made by helicopter to seal the hole on the dam, which is several meters wide, with concrete blocks. According to hydrologists, the level of the Mur River is rising in its Austrian upper reaches near Graz.

Meanwhile, rescue and clean-up efforts continued in other parts of Slovenia. Due to a feared landslide in Crna na Koroskem near the Austrian border, residents in several places on the Meza River would be brought to safety as a precaution, reports the Slovenian news agency STA .

Damage of more than 500 million euros

Several villages had been cut off from the outside world since Friday. Some of the inhabitants were supplied with drinking water and food by helicopter, and some soldiers tried to reach these places on foot. In the municipality of Ljubno ob Savinji on the Austrian border, landslides tore away four houses. In other places, bridges collapsed, roads and railroad tracks were under water.

Civil protection reported more than 36 operations nationwide within 3700 hours on Saturday. People who had taken refuge on trees or rooftops were rescued. The government estimates the total damage to be more than 500 million euros.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen assured Slovenia of help. The damage in the Adriatic country was "heartbreaking," she tweeted.

Slovenia to apply for EU aid

The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, met with the government in Ljubljana on Saturday. He named the three main EU funds from which Slovenia could apply for aid:

  • the European Civil Protection Mechanism;

  • the European Solidarity Fund

  • as well as the European Crisis Reserve for Agriculture.

According to Prime Minister Robert Golob, two-thirds of the country is affected by flooding. It is the greatest damage caused by a natural disaster in Slovenia for more than three decades. At least four people died. The police checked whether there was a connection between the deaths and the storm.

Tense situation in Austria

The southern neighbor Croatia was spared on Saturday, contrary to initial fears, from major flooding of inhabited areas until the evening. However, there was no clear all-clear. Because of the expected tidal wave on the rivers from the northern neighbor Slovenia, Croatia's authorities had taken precautions with dikes made of sandbags and in places drainage of river water. In neighbouring Austria, the situation remained tense.

In the southern Austrian provinces of Carinthia and Styria, further flooding had threatened on Saturday after new heavy rainfall. More than 2500 firefighters were deployed in each of the federal states, plus dozens of soldiers. Because motorways and alternative roads were partly closed due to the floods, there were traffic jams on the most important transit routes towards Croatia.