Slovenia

Country profile

Slovenia map Slovenia has a surface area of 20,270 square kilometres, bordering Italy on the west, the Adriatic Sea on the southwest, Croatia on the south and east, Hungary on the northeast, and Austria on the north. Slovenia has four major geographic regions: the Alps, the Dinaric-Karst, the Pannonian plain and the Mediterranean. Karst covers around 44 per cent of the total area of the country.

Slovenia has a population of 2,000,500, with a population density of 99 people per kilometre. (World Bank 2005). Slovenia has a high-income developed economy which enjoys the highest GDP per capita of the newly joined European Union countries, at around 86 per cent of the European Union average.

The country's relatively high rate of inflation declined to 2.3 per cent by 2006 and is now comparable to the average in the European Union.

Slovenia's economy has started to grow more strongly in the last few years (5.2 per cent in 2006, 4.0 per cent in 2005, 4.4 per cent in 2004, 4.8 per cent 2007 forecast), after relatively slow growth in 2003 (2.7 per cent). Overall, the country is on a sound economic footing.

Risk assessment

Slovenia is more vulnerable to earthquake than to any other hazard. Hazard data for Slovenia is available only from 1995 onwards in the EM-DAT database. During the last 11 years, five disaster events were recorded in the country. Out of this, two events (40 per cent) were earthquake and one was a flood event, while one event involved extreme temperature and one was technological (an industrial accident). The incidence of natural hazards showed an increasing trend during this period. There is insufficient data for trend analysis of technological hazard.

The number of events and deaths, and the affected population, are highest for earthquakes, while economic loss is high due to extreme temperature. Economic loss due to extreme temperature is USD 80 million. Slovenia is vulnerable to earthquakes, summer storms, heavy floods, frost, landslides and other natural hazards. The loss is estimated to equal more than 2 per cent of the country's GDP The 1990 flood has caused damages of over one-fifth of GDP (Pusch 2004).

Distribution of Hazards

Natural hazards As per EM-DAT, between 1994 and 2006, two earthquakes were recorded. These events killed one person and affected 1,306, with an economic loss of USD 10 million. As per the country report, the Gorenjska-Ljubljana and Dolenjska-Notranjska-Bela Krajina regions are the active earthquake zone areas of the country. Over 650,770 citizens, 33.1 per cent of country's population, lives in areas where earthquakes of VIII and IX levels on the MCS scale could occur. Each year, Slovenia experiences ten weak-to-moderate shocks. In the past, several destructive earthquakes have taken place, with epicenters either within the territory of present-day Slovenia or in its vicinity. No deaths or victims were reported due to flood, but an economic loss of USD 5 million is recorded in EM-DAT The economic loss due to earthquake is USD 10 million during the last 33 years, and 321,934 people were exposed to earthquake, showing the vulnerability of the country to earthquake. Drought-related hazards have caused USD 80 million in losses during this period. With the country's strong GDPJ the loss percentage to GDP is relatively low. As per the national report, 14.8 per cent of the total area of the country is under the threat of flood, with 132,000 people (7 per cent of the total population) exposed to flood risk; 30,984 people are exposed to earthquake. About 7,000 square kilometres of the country is affected due to landslides. The country is prone to risk due to avalanches also. As per the country-level report, the karst and coastal region, and the Notranjska region have the risk of fire; fire is reported as one of the most frequent hazards in Slovenia. Between 1987 and 1997 there were an average of 2,712 fires per year in Slovenia, of which 1,080 occurred outdoors, 1,337 in buildings and 295 on means of transport. According to the Global Fire Monitoring Center, there were 89 fire events affecting an area of 643 hectares during 1991-1999.

Observations

The country is less vulnerable than other SEE countries to both natural and technological disasters. Considering its geographic position in the Balkans and the drainage characteristics of the country, Slovenia needs to be involved in regional cooperation for disaster preparedness and prevention. Slovenia is a member country of the Sava River Basin initiative. The country has an emergency response plan in the event of earthquakes, nuclear accidents, floods, aircraft accidents, railway accidents, accidents in the sea and terrorist attack. Based on the national security strategy of Slovenia, the National Programme of Protection against natural another disasters was adopted, and different hazards are addressed according to the priorities in the country's five-year plans. While it is looking at disaster management from a proactive perspective, including preparedness and mitigation, the country warrants a comprehensive national level disaster management plan. Non-governmental organizations are active in protection, rescue and relief tasks in the country. Building codes are being used in the country, but they need to be followed strictly, considering the earthquake vulnerability of the region. The existing institutional framework has the capacity to handle disasters and emergency situations. There is a need for urgent attention to development of a detailed biophysical and socio-economic GIS database, which would be a planning tool for disaster mitigation and preparedness.