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Scouts from 14 countries help clean up High Tatras

AS MANY AS 900 scouts from 14 countries joined the biggest voluntary aid project in Slovak history. The month-long project, called the Volunteers for the Tatras' Operation, took place between July 18 and August 14.

"The main aim was to help clean up the damage in the High Tatras caused by hurricane-force winds last November. However, the project also drew attention to the importance of voluntary work in society," said Slovak Scouting Association Chief Martin Macharík, who also coordinated the project.

The secretary of the Committee for the Restoration and Development of the High Tatra Mountains, Ivan Štefanec, expressed appreciation for the scouts’ help.

"With their help, 56 percent of the area hit by last November's high winds has now been cleared up."

The young volunteers cleared tourist paths and prepared the area for tree planting in the autumn. The volunteers came from the Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Western European under the auspices of the European Union Youth programme. Roma scouts from Eastern Slovakia also joined the project.

During their stay in the High Tatras, the volunteers met both Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda and Slovak EU Commissioner Jan Figel.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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