Železniki – Ten years to the day, devastating floods ravaged Slovenia, leaving six people dead and causing EUR 223m in damage. The north-western industrial town Železniki was hit the hardest, with local authorities warning on the anniversary that such a disaster could repeat as no protective measures have been taken yet.
The disaster was caused by heavy rains which caused flash flooding and setting off mudslides, primarily in north-western Slovenia in the Baška grapa Valley, the Davče area and the Cerkno and Škofja Loka hills. The most devastation was caused by rivers Selška Sora, Davščica and Kroparica, while streams and rivers in the Karavanke mountain range, Kamnik-Savinja Alps, Kranj and Domžale fields and the wider Celje area also doing damage.
The official damage estimate for the entire country was EUR 223m, most of it in Železniki, located in the narrow gorge of the Selška Sora. The flooded river destroyed or damaged 350 houses, the local health care centre, church, cemetery and other facilities. The flooding and landslides also did a lot of damage to the transport and other infrastructure.
Numerous organisations and individuals immediately jumped in to help the devastated areas get back on their feet, and the affected areas, including Kropa, Bohinj and Tržič, were completely repaired in a few years. The world-famous WWII partisan hospital Franja, a national monument which was also badly damaged by the flooding, has been reconstructed. Despite significant funds having been invested in repair works, the local authorities in Železniki fear that a disaster of similar proportions could happen again there.
“If similar quantities of rain like ten years ago repeated today, the situation would probably be very similar to back then,” Mayor Anton Luznar has told the STA, noting that the state had not yet launched the planned anti-flood measures. The local authorities expect to get a building permit for works on the Selška Sora channel in the second half of 2018, which are expected to be concluded in 2020. The town is expected to be even safer from flooding after 2022, when the second phase of the project – a retarding basin under the Suša hill – is expected to be concluded. The entire works have been estimated to cost EUR 35m.