Saturday, 20 February 2021

Red Cross: HRK 48.6 Million Raised for Earthquake Victims So Far

ZAGREB, 20 February, 2021 - Red Cross Croatia executive president Robert Markt said on Friday that the Red Cross had so far raised HRK 48.6 million (close to €6.4 million) for victims of the 29 December earthquake and that one-off allowances would be paid to all citizens whose properties were damaged. 

The citizens whose damaged properties are located in Sisak-Moslavina, Zagreb and Karlovac counties were able to submit their applications for aid by February 19. So far, 19,000 applications have been received.

In an interview with Nova TV, Markt said the Red Cross would wait for applications that had been sent by post to process them as well.

He explained that the two main criteria for aid were that the applicant had permanent or temporary residence in the earthquake-hit area on 29 December and that they had proof of the damage caused to their property.

Markt could not say how much the one-off allowance would amount to, noting that it would depend on the number of applicants. He added, however, that it would be different for single-person households and families.

Markt also said that the campaign to raise money for the earthquake victims would last until the end of March.

He stressed that donations continued arriving to the earthquake-hit area.

"We are glad that Croatian and international companies keep contacting us with offers and donations," he said.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Survey: Post-Quake Assistance in Banija Fair, Some Projects With Ethnic Undertones

ZAGREB, 20 February, 2021 - Humanitarian assistance to the area hit by the 29 December earthquake has been provided equitably but some aspects of public policies for the area have had ethnic undertones, shows a short survey conducted by Hina.

Over the past 30 years the region of Banija has experienced a number of waves of destruction and suffering, with some families now having to rebuild their homes for the third time. One of the accompanying phenomena have been strong ethnic divisions in the area.

Five stakeholders spoke to Hina about the fairness of humanitarian assistance in such circumstances, while the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, the Croatian Catholic University and Caritas Croatia did not send their answers.

Red Cross Croatia spokeswoman Kristina Zorić said that the Red Cross had at no moment felt any divisions in the region.

We never made any distinctions when distributing humanitarian aid and we were never approached in that sense, she said.

The Red Cross distributed and continues to distribute aid to citizens in need, regardless of the degree of damage to their properties, Zorić said.

No ethnic bias in distribution of aid

Aneta Vladimirov of the Serb National Council (SNV) pointed to the decades-long state of neglect of Banija and its status of transition loser.

Also visible in this region, where the beauty of nature is in strong contrast to poverty, is the legacy of the 1991-95 war, difficult for all residents regardless of their ethnic background, she said.

Vladimirov noted that apart from isolated incidents, no ethnic bias could be noticed in efforts to remove the consequences of the earthquake and help the victims.

A sociologist from the Zagreb Faculty of Law, Siniša Zrinščak, said that there were no studies on possible ethnic bias in the provision of assistance and there was too little information on that in the public sphere.

"We have seen people saying that they have received aid. We have also heard Caritas say that aid has been distributed evenly to everyone, and there is too little information in the media to make a different conclusion."

Earthquake brought people together

Hrvoje Sekulić, who coordinated a volunteer unit in Petrinja, said that up to 300 people, mostly volunteers, had provided help to earthquake victims through that unit.

The earthquake did not reflect any divisions, it elicited unity. Volunteers and war veterans were glad to provide help to everyone, he said, adding that local residents were grateful for the help.

"Maybe initially it was difficult to reach all hamlets in the area, but (Red Cross executive president Robert) Markt told me they had done their best to reach everyone. I cannot speak about state services. Being part of a large system, it took some time for them to start functioning but I believe they, too, have done a good job," Sekulić said.

Serb villages in state of neglect

Vladimirov pointed to the success of the SNV's campaign "Banija is our house" and its having underlined the importance of coordination between state agencies and nongovernmental organisations.

She commended as impressive the solidarity of Croatian citizens, as well as people from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other non-EU countries.

Glina Deputy Mayor Branka Bakšić Mitić said earthquake assistance was provided evenly, and she estimated that post-war reconstruction, too, was evenly accessible to everyone who applied for it.

However, of the 72 families who still do not have housing containers, 50 are Serb families, and there are also Roma and a few Croat families, she said, warning that housing containers were not an adequate type of accommodation, especially in the current winter conditions.

Asked to comment on the assessment that the state the region was in was due to both social and ethnic factors, Bakšić Mitić said: "You can go through Croat and Serb villages and see for yourself. Serb villages lack public lighting, roads are in a poor state, waste is not being collected, not to mention water supply and sewage infrastructure. Serbs were the only ones in the area of Glina without electricity. Those who returned to their villages (after the war) have left in the meantime."

Vladimirov agrees that the origin of problems in Banija is definitely to some extent attributable to the fact that the implementation of basic infrastructure projects in villages inhabited by ethnic Serbs has been slow.

Development instead of empty words

Sociologist Zrinščak was critical about some of public references to the region's suffering in the war.

"What is the purpose of those references if you do not see how it contributes to help that area, if there are no changes in development policies? I have not seen any changes in the region's level of development in the past 30 years," he concluded.

Vladimirov believes that the success of the SNV's humanitarian campaign is also owing to the cooperation between the two deputy prime ministers heading the task force dealing with the earthquake aftermath (Boris Milošević and Tomo Medved) even though, she says, the state must learn from the example of Banija with regard to solidarity as a policy and investment in the system of civil protection.

"We did not have that until now," she says, hopeful that changes will happen in that regard.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

New Zealand Croats Collecting Donations for Quake Victims in Croatia

ZAGREB, 31 January, 2021 - The Croatian community in New Zealand has joined in aid raising campaigns for the Croatian areas affected by the 29 December devastating earthquake.

Thus, the Croatian Cultural Society in Auckland has opened a bank account for pecuniary donations for families in Petrinja, Glina and Sisak.

The Croatian Catholic Mission in Auckland already paid 5,000 dollars to a family in the village of Sibić.

The Croatian Cultural Society president Goran Katich said that the society would collect the donations throughout this year and would also organise humanitarian concerts and other events to raise relief for the quake victims.

According to the data provided by the the New Zealand Foreign Affairs Ministry and Trade, there are more than 100,000 Croats and their descendants in that country.

"Croatian immigrants began arriving in New Zealand from the 1850s and today there are more than 100,000 New Zealanders of Croatian heritage. There are also more than 2,500 Croatian nationals living here," the ministry said on its website.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Croats in Vojvodina Raise Over €50,000 in Aid for Earthquake Victims in Croatia

ZAGREB, 29 January, 2021 - The Catholic churches in the Subotica diocese in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina have raised about €40,000 in aid for earthquake-devastated areas of central Croatia, and another €11,000 has been raised through the Croatian National Council.

The Bishop of Subotica, Slavko Večerin, said in his message to the faithful that a sum of €40,108 would be presented to the Sisak Diocesan Caritas. The fund-raising campaign began on 10 January.

The Croatian National Council in Serbia, acting in cooperation with the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina (DSHV), has raised about  €11,000 since 30 December and will continue the fund-raising campaign.

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the Banovina region of central Croatia on 29 December 2020, killing seven people and causing extensive damage to property.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Samsung Electronics Adriatic Donates to Croatian Red Cross for Quake-Hit Areas

January 29, 2021 - As a global and socially responsible company that actively participates in the local community's life, to help the earthquake-affected areas, Samsung Electronics Adriatic donated 150,000 kunas to the Croatian Red Cross.

Due to the strong earthquake that hit Banovina at the end of 2020, including the towns of Petrinja, Sisak, and Glina and the surrounding area, many lost their homes and property. A month after the 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Sisak-Moslavina County, donations do not stop coming from all sides. Samsung Electronics Adriatic also decided to make a contribution and, together with its employees, made a financial donation to the Croatian Red Cross to help earthquake-affected areas.

Samsung responded to the Red Cross's appeal with this donation to help the residents of the affected areas, to provide them with the necessary assistance and decent living conditions.

"As an international company that actively participates in the daily life of the local community, Samsung has decided to donate 150,000 kunas to the Croatian Red Cross, which is currently working on collecting humanitarian aid, so that all affected citizens get the help they need. An additional contribution to this donation was provided by the company's employees, who donated their own funds. At Samsung Electronics Adriatic, we think globally and act locally," said the newly elected President of Samsung Electronics Adriatic Hyoung Min. Park.

Samsung Electronics Adriatic operates in eight countries in the region. These include Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Northern Macedonia. It sets new standards in the world of televisions, smartphones, wearables, tablets, digital home devices, network systems, as well as solutions in the areas of memory, LSI systems, and LED devices.

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Monday, 4 January 2021

Croatia Civil Protection Authority Gives Instruction for Aid Delivery from Abroad

ZAGREB, 4 January, 2021 - Croatia's Civil Protection Authority on Sunday presented instructions for better organisation of the delivery of humanitarian aid from abroad.

Donors and organisers of relief aid shipments are asked to provide their data on the e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. before they depart for Croatia.

They are kindly asked to give information about the identity of drivers and other persons engaged in the transport of the aid as well as the registration numbers and kinds of vehicles they are using for the transport.

For instance, the information on whether vehicles are higher than four metres is also necessary.

The providers of the assistance are also asked to announce the border crossing they are going to use as well as the date of the of their planned arrival and departure from the country.

Also, information on the route to their destination is necessary for the better organisation and smooth traffic as well as for the exemption of aid delivery organisers from toll payment.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Red Cross Gives Quake Victims 129 t of Food, 50,000 l of Water, 21,000 Hot Meals

ZAGREB, 2 January, 2021 - The Croatian Red Cross (HCK) said on Saturday that over the past three days they had distributed more than 129 tonnes of food in earthquake-hit areas as well as 50,000 litres of water and 21,000 hot meals.

They have also provided 172 heaters, 650 blankets, 39 generators, 700 packets of food and necessities for children as well as ensuring psychosocial support for 1,600 people.

The HCK has also opened two more locations in Petrinja for the accommodation of the people affected, including a service for tracing the missing and psychosocial support.

By 1 January, HRK 36.4 million was donated by physical and legal entities to help those affected by Tuesday's earthquake. Donations are still being collected. A donor line has received 69,169 calls bringing HRK 432,300.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Monday, 23 November 2020

Magic of Giving: Story Behind Big Croatian Donor Community

November 23, 2020 – Backed by four diligent women, a Croatian donor community on Facebook called Čarolija darivanja (The Magic of Giving) has been giving birthday presents to neglected children and the elderly in nursing homes for five years now with the help of generous donors.

As the most beautiful and noble time of the year, Christmas, approaches, many are already starting to think about what to give to their loved ones. Even the slightest sign of attention given with love can cheer someone up, but what about those people who, unfortunately, can't get that under their tree? In this pre-holiday time, some remember neglected children and people in nursing homes, but what about the rest of the year?

To bring a smile back to their faces for the rest of the year, and not just for Christmas, five years ago a Facebook page called Čarolija darivanja (The Magic of Giving) was launched to enable generous people to give birthday presents to the neediest. These are primarily children in homes for neglected children, as well as in homes without adequate parental care, and grandparents in homes for the elderly and infirm.

Croatians are already known for their generosity, and this commendable action is proof that there are still good people ready to help. This big giving initiative was even recognized for its humanitarian character and won the Ponos Hrvatske (Pride of Croatia) award.

Four diligent women who stand behind this project explain how giving works and therefore how the "magic" is made.

Can you tell us more about this project?

The Magic of Giving is a Facebook page that can be joined by anyone who is able and wants, from the bottom of their heart, to donate presents to a completely unknown person from a children's or nursing home. There are several types of magic happening here – giving, sharing happiness, caring for other people, doing good deeds.

The Magic team consists of four women who – in addition to their jobs, families, children, pets, and everyday life – handle wish lists of children and the elderly and are in contact with their homes, and people who send gifts: Mirta who lives in Barcelona, Silvia who lives in Sarajevo, Marina who lives in Ilok, and Sanja who lives in Zagreb.

Our community, which counts as many as 40,000 followers, recently celebrated its 5th birthday!

How does giving work? Who can participate and how?

At the top of our Facebook page, we have a post titled "How to Participate?" where everything is explained in detail for all the new fairies and elves, as we call people who donate.

Every month, we publish lists of birthday wishes and needs of children from homes or associations, who are without adequate parental care (without parents or growing up with parents, but in an unenviable situation). Sometimes we also publish lists with the common needs of children (for example hygiene supplies, school supplies, etc). We also publish the birthday wishes of the elderly people placed in nursing homes.

At the top of each list is the title (which month and home), and below is a list with ordinal numbers, names/initials of the children and elderly, date of birth, and birthday wishes. People then write in the comments to whom they want to send a present and that’s it. We always recommend that they send sweets and greeting cards with gifts.

All gifts are sent directly to the addresses of the homes, from people to children or elderly, so we only do the communication. For any doubts, the necessary information for sending is written at the bottom of each list, as well as the contact person from the home with a phone number.

From the beginning, we decided that we do not want to have anything to do with money or payment to our accounts (to avoid negative connotations), and this proved to be a great solution.


The "Magic" team: Marina, Sanja, Silvia, and Mirta / Private archive

Where did the idea for this project come from?

The story started before Christmas in 2015 when the Facebook page was called Christmas Gift Giving to Children Without Proper Parental Care. Mirta came up with the idea when her son told her he wanted an excavator and then a truck as a Christmas present. She was thinking, who would fulfill all these wishes for children who do not have parents? She had heard of a boy who had gathered friends the year before, and they made wishes of children from one home come true. She thought we could do a lot more with Facebook.

She presented the idea to our former colleague Katarina, she liked it, and the two of them set off. They contacted the children's home Klasje from Osijek, they were scared when the principal told them that they had over 100 children, so they asked her not to get angry if they failed because they did not count on such a large number.

They ended the Christmas magic with about 2,000 presents, tired, but happy. In agreement with the homes, they gave up further Christmas magic and continued with the Birthday magic. In homes, almost everyone said that all people remember them over Christmas, but then during the year it somehow subsides. The Birthday magic seemed like the real thing! And given the response from the people, it was the right thing to do.

Do you call the homes or do they call you?

At the very beginning, we contacted and worked only with orphanages. We called them all, explained the story, and slowly joined in one by one. Two years later, in late 2017, Teresa (who was in the team at the time) came up with the idea to extend the story to homes for the elderly and infirm. Again, we contacted all the nursing homes ourselves. This time it was easier because we already had a two-year story behind us and a lot of orphanages that could confirm that everything was working well. A year and a half ago, we received calls from homes that did not immediately join the story but now want to be a part of the magic.

How many children and grandparents have you donated to so far? How many homes? Are they always the same or are they changing?

Throughout the year, we track how many gifts are sent monthly, which is a little over 500 packages. So, during the year, over 6000 gifts are sent. We monitor about 50 homes for children, half-day stays, and other accommodation for children, and about 30 homes for the elderly and infirm.


All of you live in different cities and countries – how do you work together?

Since everything is online, there are no problems, moreover, it is much easier and faster. Of course, smartphones, with which you can be online at any time, and handle lists and emails, also help a lot. We don’t feel at all that we’re far away because we're in contact with each other every day and comment on everything. We have a WhatsApp group chat where we exchange messages. All four of us follow the lists of children's wishes as well as the wishes of the elderly, publish them on the page, follow who has chosen which child, grandparents, and update the lists.

Do you get feedback from homes, children, and the elderly?

Cooperation with homes is very successful and we are grateful that they meet our needs to the maximum, despite the many obligations they have. Homes designate a contact person whose mobile phone number we can publish on the list and then that person answers donors to numerous inquiries related to gifts, goes to the post office to pick up the package, takes care of whether the gift has arrived or not, delivers lists to us by e-mail and the like. The users themselves sometimes directly contact the people who sent them present to thank them, which is a wonderful experience.

You were also named Ponos Hrvatske (Pride of Croatia). How much does that recognition mean to you?

We would like to emphasize that, although we received the award, it certainly would not have been possible without all the people who helped the Magic to exist for such a long time. We try to give a personal note to the Facebook page and the community – we confirm every gift application with "Thank you", we are available almost 24/7, and we try to solve every problem that arises as quickly and as well as possible.

It is very important to us that everything is transparent and people appreciate that. Maybe that's the reason for the success. We are also glad to see how the Magic spreads so each person involved is a kind of example to their friends and acquaintances.

We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participates! It is very nice to see that there are still many good people and that volunteering and good deeds are recognized in our society.

Ponos Hrvatske is the award for people who have shown exceptional humanity through their actions, inspired others, or done something that sets an example for others, whether it is saving lives, great kindness or incredible courage.

What is your wish for the future – maybe expansion, something else?

We have no concrete wishes except that everything goes as it has so far. Five years ago, we never dreamed that we would have so many people who follow us, and not only follow but send gifts and cheer up children and the elderly in homes. Our lists close in 10 minutes so we would be ungrateful if we wanted anything more than what we have now thanks to all the good people!

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Thursday, 22 October 2020

A Young Man from Vodnjan is Collecting Donations for Croatian Debtors

October 22, 2020 – Two weeks ago, a 27-year-old man from Vodnjan and one girl started collecting donations for Croatian debtors in a Facebook group.

As 24sata reports, since then, he has received hundreds of phone calls and text messages in a Facebook group that he launched called "Blocked and debted people let’s help each other" ("Blokirani i ovršeni pomozimo jedni drugima"). He has already gathered more than 1000 people in that group, and the number continues to grow.

As we reported earlier from Hina, the moratorium on debt enforcements ended on Monday, October 19, and the total number of enforcement debtors now in Croatia is 244,865. Data from the Financial Agency's (FINA) system for execution of enforcement over monetary assets have shown that the largest number of enforcement debtors, 109,000 or 46 percent of citizens with blocked bank accounts, owed up to 10,000 kunas, while the total amount of their debt was 396 million kunas.

The goal of this Facebook group is to help the people who faced foreclosures to get rid of their debts by collecting donations for the most urgent cases.

"I want every kuna to get into the right hands. Every day for the past two weeks, I have been replying for hours to messages coming to my group and trying to help as best I can," said Dražen Gluvak from Vodnjan.

"We are here to help each other to be free, to sleep peacefully, and finally get rid of our problems and debts, and ultimately get rid of moneylenders like FINA and other paying agencies. Let's help each other," reads the description of the Facebook page.

Dražen says he is very emotional when it comes to unfortunate human destinies.

"The donation is paid directly to the account of one person within a month. Some people have a problem, but also those who are immediately ready to pay a donation to help as soon as possible. In the past two weeks, we have helped a lady for whom we collected about 1,000 kuna so far, and she needs 5,000 kuna to be unblocked. She begged us for help because of a debt she just can't pay. The money was paid directly to her account. Everything works so that the person who needs help sends us all the documentation from FINA on enforcement and then we start the action of help," Dražen explained.

He says that people pay as much as they can and that the goal is to help as many people as possible. If everyone paid only a small amount, at least the amount needed for one coffee, a lot of people would be saved, he points out.

He added that he is glad that more and more people are joining the group.

"People want change, they want to help. Those who are in debt want to fall asleep at least once without the fear of tomorrow. If I were rich, I would help everyone. People in the group are not immune to other people's misfortune and want to help, even with a few kunas, because no one knows if they will find themselves in the same situation tomorrow and cry out for help," the young man from Vodnjan said.


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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

71 Parties Failed to Report Donations

ZAGREB, July 29, 2020 - Of 167 registered political parties in Croatia, as many as 71 failed to report on donations received in the first half of the year, thus facing fines of between HRK 10,000 and 100,000.

All registered political parties, independent members of parliament and independent local councillors were required to report donations to the Electoral Commission (DIP) by midnight on July 15. The parties that failed to do so face fines of between HRK 10,000 (€1,333) and 100,000 (€13,333), while independent MPs and councillors face fines of up to HRK 20,000 (€2,666).

Whether they will be actually fined or not depends on whether the State Attorney's Office (DORH) decides that it is worthwhile to take legal action considering the fact that many of the parties did not receive any donations. If it decides to take action, a final decision on the amount of fine will be made by a court.

According to DIP, 96 parties submitted their reports, including nine that did so after the deadline. Among the parties that failed to do so are two parliamentary parties - the Croatian Social Liberal Party and the Workers' Front.

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