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Frontpage News 2008 EEA Grants flood protection passes test in Nižný Slavkov, Slovakia

EEA Grants flood protection passes test in Nižný Slavkov, Slovakia

As heavy rains caused floods in Slovakia in late July and early August, the northeastern village Nižný Slavkov avoided damage thanks to funding for flood protection from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Every year Slovakia battles overflowing rivers and deals with the consequences of flood damage. In the last week of July, two people died and 40 villages in the Prešov region were affected as torrential rain lashed northeastern Slovakia. But the 880 inhabitants in the village Nižný Slavkov avoided having their homes swamped.

With close to €460,000 in support from the EEA and Norway Grants, the small municipality had already reconstructed large stretches of the river channel running through the village when the rains came last week. "This saved the village. If it were not for the reconstruction and upgrade of the channel, we would have had massive damage to people's homes and municipal property", Mayor of Nižný Slavkov, Jozef Kamenický, said.

The design flow used for the river channel was previously too low. As part of the project, more than 2 kilometers of the channel is being reconstructed, including strengthening of the banks in critical areas.

While the rainstorm has passed, the village maintains its high level of alert. Adding up the costs of last week's flood damages, the estimated €59,000 ranks significantly below the damage floods have previously caused the village. Over the last ten years, the river has overflowed its banks four times. The damage for 2004 and 2006 is estimated at more than €800,000 each.

Slovakia is allocated €70.2 million under the EEA and Norway Grants, of which €30 million euro has already been committed to 47 projects and funds. In addition to the project in Nižný Slavkov, two Slovak towns have been awarded grants for flood protection infrastructure, while two regions in the east of the country have received support to cooperate in creating detailed hydrological mapping of flood threats.