Slovak Republic: Wind Storms OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2004/177
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Wind Storms - Slovak Republic
Occurred on 19 November 2004
This report is based on information provided by the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations in Geneva and by the Government of the Slovak Republic.


1. On Friday 19 November 2004 a short but extremely damaging and strong windstorm with gusts of up to 170km/h hit the territory of Slovakia. Several parts of the territory were seriously affected, with the most severe devastation occurring in the High Tatras Mountains where a 60 km long and 10 km wide belt of timber forest has been completely destroyed. Several houses and extensive infrastructure has also been destroyed or seriously damaged.

2. Apart from the unprecedented economic and ecological losses, a very important humanitarian aspect has arisen from the very first moment of the crisis. Approximately 10,000 people were blocked in their houses and apartments and more than 300 people in cars and buses.


3. The Government of Slovakia has established a Crisis Management Team coordinating the response at the national level. The activities in the most affected area - the High Tatras - are coordinated by the Crisis Management Team in Poprad and by the local government in Vysoké Tatry - Star=FD Smokovec.

4. Aeronautical and heavy rescue equipment as well as more than 600 professional rescue workers and 200 volunteers have been deployed to the region for evacuation and relief operations. Relief operations are complicated by difficult weather conditions with heavy snowfall, strong winds and temperatures of up to 12 degrees Celsius below zero as well as by the complicated topography.

5. The central government immediately allocated 10 million SK and the Office of the President 5 million SK for use of the Crisis Management Team. Several major Slovak towns have allocated sums up to 1 million SK. The Slovak Red Cross Society has opened a bank account and is coordinating the allocation of help to affected populations.

6. In the area most severely struck by the storm, 60 - 120 rescue workers are working day and night to help those trapped in the woods. On Wednesday 24 November 2004 the Government decided to send 200 troops and army rescue equipment to assist the rescue workers.

7. It is estimated that it will take 3 more days to bring relief to people who are still blocked in their houses by fallen trees.


8. There was an immediate international response with regard to relief activities at the level of the civil society of the neighbouring countries, first of all in the Czech Republic. Some 2 million SK have been collected in this way.

9. The European Commission has made a promise to allocate funds at a later stage for rehabilitation purposes. Also governments of neighbouring countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have expressed willingness to assist in supporting recovery and rehabilitation.


10. From an economic point of view, 80% of the annual revenues from forest have been destroyed.

The Preliminary estimation of the damage is as follows:

Flora and Fauna
10 800
million SK
million USD
Transport Infrastructure
million SK
million USD
Public Utilities
million SK
million USD
Health Establishments
million SK
million USD
Public Buildings
million SK
million USD
Private Property
million SK
million USD

11. OCHA remains in close contact with the Permanent Mission of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations and with the Slovak Government as well as with several partners who may be able to provide additional assistance.

12. This Situation Report and information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. Dusan Zupka, Direct Tel. +41-22-917 1645, E-mail:
Ms. Charlotta Benedek, Direct Tel. +41-22-917-12 05, E-mail:

Press contact:
(GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) - Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-917-367 51 26

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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