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Slovenian, Croatian Weekend Flooding Leaves Two Dead

Heavy weekend floods in Slovenia and Croatia left two people dead and hundreds homeless after rains swelled rivers, damaging buildings and roads.

An unidentified 75-year-old man was pulled from his flooded car in eastern Slovenia and taken to a hospital, where he died, Radio Slovenija reported, citing local police spokesman Robert Perc. Another man’s body was found near the town of Celje, national radio reported. Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d., Slovenia’s largest insurer, lost 5.6 percent in Ljubljana trading today, dropping close to the lowest level this year.

Weekend rains dumped the equivalent of a fifth of the average annual rainfall for Slovenia, the northernmost of the former Yugoslav republics, said state meteorologist Miha Demsar. Overflowing rivers then sent floodwaters south to Croatia, where hundreds of residents were forced to abandon their homes.

“The major threat is over” in Slovenia, Prime Minister Borut Pahor told reporters after the government set up a special body to oversee the relief effort. “We have to first take care and rebuild roads and other infrastructure.”

Initial estimates indicate damages in one of the worst hit areas, Celje, amount to 6.6 million euros ($8.6 million), the city’s mayor Bojan Srot said, according to the Slovenian STA newswire.

Broken Dams

In Croatia, flooding hit the northwest of the country and the Istrian peninsula, according to Jutarnji List, while its largest river, the Sava, broke dams in villages near Zapresic, the northwestern suburb of Zagreb. The capital was not threatened, according to the report.

The fall harvest in Croatia is not affected as its main seasonal products, wheat, corn and sunflower, are not grown in the flood-hit areas, said Mladen Pavic, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture.

Croatian Defense Minister Branko Vukelic sent a 100-member army unit to the Zapresic area to help with the evacuation, the ministry said in a statement today.

In Istria, the Dragonja flooded parts of coastal towns Umag, Buje and Novigrad, prompting the closure of several roads and two border crossings with Slovenia, Jutarnji said.

Several roads were also closed in Medjumurje, after flooding near the towns of Koprivnica and Cakovec, according to the report.

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