Slovenia’s Worst Natural Disaster Ever
The torrential rain that hit Slovenia a week ago has caused catastrophic flooding after a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours. The violence of the water cut off roads, damaged bridges and flooded buildings. Two thirds of the country have been affected, causing deaths, injuries and thousands of displaced persons. Tens of thousands of homes are without electricity. According to initial estimates, the damage will amount to billions of euros. Reconstruction will take years, since many infrastructures such as roads, bridges and power lines have been destroyed in what has been described as the nation’s “worst natural disaster”.
The Order of Malta in Slovenia (Malteška pomoč Slovenija) has responded to the authorities’ appeal to help the people involved. Volunteer teams have been mobilized to assist in numerous emergency situations. Franci Bukovnik, who coordinates the field teams, describes a situation further complicated “by the huge amount of material moved by the water, with rocks, branches, logs and gravel being dragged along by the torrents”. He also stresses that heavy machinery is necessary “because there can be thousands of cubic meters of debris in front of a single house, which is now drying out and hardening, making it even more difficult to remove”.
The Order of Malta is operating in the area of Luče and Solčava, maintaining consistent contact with the civil protection. Malteška pomoč Slovenija was one of the first to intervene here, providing power generators and equipment to remove debris as well as basic supplies and groceries.
Coordination with the Order of Malta’s structures in neighbouring countries brings more aid to Slovenia. Roman Vučajnk, President of Malteška pomoč Slovenija, describes the situation: “Response has been quick and efficient. Key equipment such as dehumidifiers is arriving from both Hungary and Germany. In Germany they have also already started to raise funds for Slovenia’s needs. I hope we will be able to have all this equipment operative in the disaster sites in the coming days”.
The Order of Malta’s Embassy in Slovenia maintains regular contacts with the relevant authorities and is engaged in facilitating rescue operations.