Guidance team to tackle forest clean-up

Switzerland has set up an emergency team to coordinate clean-up efforts after Hurricane Lothar ripped through Swiss forests and caused hundreds of millions of francs in damage.

This content was published on January 4, 2000 - 14:42

Switzerland has set up an emergency team to coordinate clean-up efforts after Hurricane Lothar ripped through Swiss forests and caused hundreds of millions of francs in damage.

The formation of the team was agreed at a special summit in the capital Berne, where federal and cantonal forestry offcials tried to find agreement on financial compensation and how to proceed with clean-up efforts.

The team will bring together government officials from all regions of the country, as well as leaders of Switzerland's wood manufacturing industry.

The government said it estimates that the federal authorities and the 26 cantons will have to put up SFr800 million ($510 million) to cover damages caused by the storms, which lashed Switzerland over Christmas. Fourteen people were killed, most of them by falling trees.
The authorities in the Basel region have declared a general ban on commercial logging, saying efforts should concentrate on clean-up efforts instead.

However, the emergeny summit in Berne stopped short of imposing a general logging ban, saying such a decision should be left to the 26 cantons.

The authorities in canton Berne -- which is one of Switzerland's biggest cantons - tried to put the widespread damage into perspective. They said that 100,000 houses could be built, and heated, using the wood from the fallen trees in the canton alone.

From staff and wire reports.


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