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Slovenia paralysed by power outages after harsh storms

Slovenia's government said Monday that repairing damaged power infrastructure could take months after heavy snow and sleet battered most of the country over the weekend, leaving 120,000 households without power.

LJUBLJANA: Slovenia's government said Monday that repairing damaged power infrastructure could take months after heavy snow and sleet battered most of the country over the weekend, leaving 120,000 households without power.

"We've been hit by a large-scale natural disaster," Defence Minister Roman Jakic said after an emergency meeting called by Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek to assess the damages.

"We estimate that some 500 tonnes of steal, cables and electricity posts remain on the ground," he said.

"The repair (of the power infrastructure) might take months."

Heavy snow and sleet hit the country Saturday and Sunday, blocking roads and railways and causing electric lines to collapse under the weight of snow, ice or fallen trees.

Jakic said about 120,000 households in the country of two million people were still without power Monday despite efforts by maintenance teams to repair the damaged infrastructure.

The authorities have warned people not to drink running water because of fears it might be contaminated after power outages at water-treatment plants.

More than 60 per cent of kindergartens and schools remained closed due to transportation problems.

Agriculture Minister Dejan Zidan said first estimates indicated snow and sleet had damaged 42 per cent of the Alpine country's forests.

"We were very fortunate not to have registered any casualties," Zidan said.

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