A member of the Slovenian army peers out of a helicopter during rescue efforts. Slovenian Army Twitter

Two Dutch citizens and a local woman dead as flooding hits Slovenia

A red alert has been issued and the army called in to assist rescue efforts.

THREE PEOPLE HAVE died after floods and landslides caused by heavy rains cut off access to villages and disrupted traffic in northeastern and central Slovenia today, authorities have said.

Sirens alerting citizens to flooding were sounded in the cities of Ljubljana, Maribor and Celje after the country’s environment agency issued the highest “red alert” warning due to heavy rainfall that started overnight.

“Three people have died over the last 24 hours in weather-related incidents,” police spokeswoman Maja Adlesic told AFP.

Two Dutch citizens had been found dead in the mountains surrounding Kranj affected by the storms, and a Slovenian woman died in the flooded town of Kamnik, Slovenian news agency STA reported.

The exact circumstances of the deaths are under investigation, police said.

“The situation is serious,” defence minister Marjan Sarec told media, adding that the army had joined rescue and firefighter teams to help citizens in the most affected areas.

Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob interrupted his holidays to meet with civil protection staff this afternoon.

Golob also called a crisis meeting to convene tomorrow to discuss the situation.

The old city centre of Slovenia’s third-largest city Celje had to be evacuated as the Savinja river threatened to overflow its banks.

The motorway connecting Ljubljana with the country’s north had to be closed due to flooding as rivers overflowed, destroying bridges and several houses, news website N1 Info said.

Some 16,000 households had their electricity cut off.

“Some areas are completely cut off and communication is also difficult,” the country’s civil protection chief Srecko Sestan said of the challenging rescue operations.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall in neighbouring Austria led to mudslides and flooding in the southern provinces of Carinthia and Styria.


- AFP 2023

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