In a catastrophic turn of events, severe floods struck vast regions of Slovenia on August 4th, 2023, causing widespread damage and prompting emergency evacuations. The disaster tragically claimed four lives, with many people isolated and cut off from the outside world.
August 4th, 2023: Unrelenting Torrential Rains and Emergency Evacuations
On August 4th, Slovenia experienced relentless torrential rains, leading to severe flooding in multiple regions. The affected areas included North Primorska, Gorenjska, Koroška, and others.
Three Lives Lost and Many Isolated
Tragically, the floods claimed three lives, including that of an elderly person swept away by a torrential stream in the Bistričica area. The extent of property damage remained uncertain as communication lines were disrupted, and many people were isolated and cut off from the outside world.
Activation of the National Flood Protection and Rescue Plan
In response to the escalating crisis, the Slovenian government activated the national flood protection and rescue plan, mobilizing emergency services and resources to aid affected regions.
August 5th, 2023: Hydrologist Warns of Continuing River Flooding
On August 5th, Hydrologist Janez Polajnar warned that river flooding would continue for most of the day. The peak flow rate on the Sava River in Jesenice on Dolenjska was expected to be between 3600 and 3900 cubic meters per second.
Ljubljana faced extensive floods
On August 5, 2023, the Ljubljana region experienced extensive flooding, with parts of the city submerged due to the high groundwater level and overflowing Sava River in the Tacen and Sneberje areas.
Efforts were made to access areas cut off from the rest of the city, with helicopter teams providing assistance. Some residents sought refuge in makeshift accommodations in Zalog and Vikrče. Despite no additional flooding during the night, the situation remained critical in Tacen and Sneberje, and pumping operations were scheduled to begin as soon as water levels permitted.
The heavy rainfall on Friday and the rapid rise of the Sava River had significant impacts, leading to flooding in areas like Vič, Brod, Vikrč, and Tomačevo, as well as the Gradaščica River. In Kamnik, helicopter support and military assistance were utilized to reach isolated areas, including the Kamniška Bistrica, Črna, and Bistričica valleys, where several houses remained cut off.
The mountain rescue service was activated to assess inaccessible structures, and 45 people were evacuated and relocated to safe locations. Moreover, several bridges collapsed due to swollen rivers, including those in Komenda and Domžale. Notably, the road bridge on the Ljubljana-Celje regional road in Domžale was disrupted, affecting bus connections.
Efforts were made to prevent further flooding in the Vir and Rodica settlements, but the bridge over Kamniška Bistrica between Beričevo and Dol was heavily damaged, leading to road closure. Additionally, the bridge on the Senožeti-Jevnica road in the Litija municipality remained closed.
The situation required extensive response and recovery efforts to mitigate the impact on affected communities.
Transportation Disruptions: Highways and Railways Closed
The extensive flooding severely impacted transportation infrastructure.
In the Ljubljana region, the road bridge on the Ljubljana-Celje regional road in Domžale was among the major casualties, being washed away by the force of the floods. This disruption significantly affected bus connections in the area, further complicating rescue and recovery efforts.
In Kamnik, multiple roads were closed due to flooding and landslides, isolating several valleys like Kamniška Bistrica, Črna, and Bistričica. Efforts to reach and access these cut-off areas were ongoing, with helicopter support and military assistance being utilized to transport supplies and aid to the affected communities.
Additionally, in central Slovenia, several bridges collapsed due to the swollen rivers. The bridges in Komenda and Domžale were among those affected, further hampering road access and transportation in the region.
Moreover, the bridge over Kamniška Bistrica between Beričevo and Dol also suffered severe damage, resulting in its closure. Similarly, the bridge on the Senožeti-Jevnica road in the Litija municipality was swept away by the floods, making the road impassable.
The extensive flooding also affected regional and local roads throughout the affected areas. Many of these roads were damaged by landslides, debris, and high water levels, making them unsafe for travel and leading to closures for safety reasons.
The road network in the Koroška region was particularly impacted, with vital infrastructure severely damaged and severed. This isolation caused significant challenges in providing assistance and aid to the affected communities in the region.
Overall, the floods had a devastating impact on Slovenia’s transportation and infrastructure, with numerous roads closed, damaged, or swept away by the force of the floodwaters. The extensive damage required significant recovery efforts and coordination to restore the transportation network and support the affected communities.
Emergency Evacuations and Isolated Communities
Rescue operations were underway in various regions to assist stranded individuals, with some routes being redirected towards Ljubljana. Many communities were isolated, and the Slovenian military was mobilized to provide support and aid.
Critical Situations in Northwest and Koroška Regions
The northwest regions, including North Primorska, Gorenjska, and Koroška, bore the brunt of the disaster. In Koroška, residents in all three valleys were rescued, but many people remained trapped due to severed infrastructure and flooding. Mežiška dolina faced severe floods, leaving thousands without electricity and access to drinking water.
August 6th and 7th, 2023: Ongoing Rescue and Recovery Efforts
Rescue and recovery efforts continued throughout August 6th and 7th. The Slovenian Armed Forces were actively involved in assisting affected communities, particularly in the Koroška region, where the situation remained dire.
Environmental Impact and Water Contamination
The excessive rainfall and flooding had a profound impact on Slovenia’s environment. Wildlife habitats were destroyed, and ecosystems were disrupted. Authorities issued orders to boil water due to potential contamination of water systems.
Electrical Outages and Drinking Water Shortages
As of August 7th, approximately 16,000 people remained without electricity in the flooded regions. Drinking water scarcity persisted, with some areas entirely cut off from access to clean water.
Assistance through Red Cross
The Association of Red Cross Societies of Slovenia has set up a coordination group available 24/7 at the email address [email protected].
If you want to assist the affected population with storm and flood recovery, the quickest way is by sending an SMS with the keyword UJMA 5 or UJMA 10 to the number 1919. By doing so, you will donate 5 EUR or 10 EUR, respectively.
You can also contribute by transferring funds for assistance to the following bank account:
Bank Account: Rdeči križ Slovenije
Address: Mirje 19, 1000 Ljubljana
IBAN: SI56 0310 0123 4567 891 (held at SKB Banka d. d.)
Reference: 00 96875
Purpose: Ujma 2023
Bank BIC: SKBASI2X
Payment code: CHAR
Slovenia faced an unprecedented natural disaster in August 2023, as severe floods devastated vast regions of the country. The floods claimed lives, damaged infrastructure, and left many communities isolated.
The response efforts, led by the Slovenian government, emergency services, and the military, demonstrated the nation’s resilience and unity in the face of adversity. However, the road to recovery remained challenging, as environmental impacts and ongoing floods posed significant obstacles.
According to Draga Murko’s information, Austrian authorities have started emptying the reservoirs on the Drava River.
Help through the Red Cross
- The Association of Red Cross Societies of Slovenia has set up a coordination group available 24/7 at the email address [email protected].
- If you want to assist the affected population with storm and flood recovery, the quickest way is by sending an SMS with the keyword UJMA 5 or UJMA 10 to the number 1919. By doing so, you will donate 5 EUR or 10 EUR, respectively.
- You can also contribute by transferring funds for assistance to the following bank account:
- Bank Account: Rdeči križ Slovenije
- Address: Mirje 19, 1000 Ljubljana
- IBAN: SI56 0310 0123 4567 891 (held at SKB Banka d. d.)
- Reference: 00 96875
- Purpose: Ujma 2023
- Bank BIC: SKBASI2X
- Payment code: CHAR