State to help sinkhole-stricken city

The governor of the southern province of Malopolska has told the residents of a town under threat from sinkholes that they can count on state support.

In recent weeks a number of holes, an unwanted legacy of mining in the area, have opened up around the town of Trzebinia and, in September 2022, around 50 graves were damaged when a sinkhole swallowed them up at a local cemetery.

The Polish Geological Institute has designated nearly 500 places at risk of sinkholes in the Trzebinia area, with 38 being within 20 metres of built-up areas.

In an effort to calm public concerns, Lukasz Kmita, the Malopolska governor, said the residents could rely on the support of the state, adding that that Mine Reconstruction Agency (SRK) along with other agencies were taking steps to stabilise the situation and prevent more sinkholes from opening up.

The problem, he said, "has to be dealt with by the state, and with the involvement of services and institutions it will certainly be dealt with."

He also said that the sinkhole problem in Trzebinia is nothing new as it has been present since the liquidation of a local mine at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Piotr Bojarski, the president of SRK, said that to date, about 80 hectares of land have been surveyed by geologists. He added that, according to scientists, there was no threat to residential buildings, and the dangerous areas had been marked.