Sunday, 27 September 2020

Croatian Sense Of Humour Undiminished By Continuing Earthquakes

September 2, 2020 – Declarations of love, funny trading offers for chickens, appeals for dates and creative swearing have lightened the mood after earth tremors, as the Croatian sense of humour spills over into the unlikely forum of an earthquake-reporting app

The earthquake of 22 March 2020 was an unforgettable experience for anyone in Zagreb. The strongest to have hit the Croatian capital in 140 years, it has naturally been followed by a series of aftershocks. Eight particularly forceful tremors have been accompanied by more than 1000 smaller aftershocks. The vibrations have become as much a part of 2020's everyday life in Zagreb as putting on a mask.

While some still become mortified by these tremors, many Zagreb residents have now become accustomed to this low rumbling of the ground. They can now laugh and joke about it.

The Croatian sense of humour is a diverse beast – it can be dark, brutal, scathing, self-deprecating, gentle, simple, outrageous, creatively profane or simply just bizarre. In this diversity and relentless ability to laugh at all situations, the Croatian sense of humour and that of some immediate neighbours, is much closer to that which the British have rather than other Europeans. It is British comedy shows that regularly delight Croatian TV audiences, not those from Germany, France or Italy.

i-beg-your-pardon-927744_1920.jpg© Alexas_Fotos

Jokes and swearing about the earth tremors are a classically Croatian response. Alongside the Croatian sense of humour and general tomfoolery, they have recently spilled over into an unexpected forum. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre is a pretty serious institution. It was established in 1975 and has 84 professional institutes as members in as many as 55 different countries. Their app is a world leader for the public reporting of earth tremors. Although, in the hands of funny Croatians, it has of late become a bulletin board for declarations of love, statements of the surreal, an app for trading and dating.

"Matija, I love you" read one of the first comments in response to the latest aftershock, which occurred on Friday 25 September. "Nikolina from Jazbina, I love you," declared another.

"I'm opening the bottle, is there any frightened girl nearby so that we can be scared together?" appealed one lonely chancer from the Kvatrić neighbourhood. Rather bafflingly, another simply wrote “Milk shake. Strawberry.”

This weekend's corruption of the EMSC app is not without precedent. “Does anybody here have any yeast? Dubrava and surroundings” begged one local, several weeks ago. Another trader at least made reference to the earth tremors when he advertised “I sell chickens. They are small and stressed out - and will remain small! I buy chickens, too. But only those who are resistant to earthquakes.”


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Sunday, 20 September 2020

4.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Gracac near Zadar, Felt Throughout Dalmatia

September 20, 2020 – After a few minor earthquakes in the past few days, Croatia was hit by a stronger earthquake, this time in Dalmatia, near Gračac. As reports, on Sunday, around 12:55 PM, Gračac was hit by an earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, and it was felt throughout Dalmatia.

The EMSC's first report was that the earthquake was 4.2 magnitude, then 4.0. However, the Croatian Seismological Service reports that the earthquake was 4.2 magnitude on the Richter scale.

The earthquake was recorded 88 kilometers northwest of Split, 12 kilometers southwest of Gračac, and 51 kilometers east of Zadar. It was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometers.




Felt throughout Dalmatia

One Gračac resident said that the earthquake was short-lived, but was quite noticeable. According to the comments on the EMSC application, the earthquake was felt all over Dalmatia, so the citizens of Zadar, Šibenik, Split, and other towns felt it.

“We felt the earthquake on Pag, it was quite strong,” readers from Pag report.

“Split, in the wider center, 7th floor in a skyscraper, 3 light hits, like banging. There was no shaking. Altogether it went on for 3-4 seconds,” said one reader from Split.

“It was quite well felt in Biograd. It lasted for 10-15 seconds and there was some rocking. In the end, it roared,” said one reader from Biograd.

“The earthquake was felt even in Drniš and it was not pleasant at all,” one reader informed.




Readers from Kaštela report they felt the earthquake too.

“At 1 PM an earthquake was felt in the area of Split. We felt it in Kaštela. It didn't last long, but it shook us well,” said one reader.

There is no official data on the strength of the earthquake and its epicenter on the website of the Croatian Seismological Service. In addition, it is not known whether there was any material damage.


Strong earthquake, but without material damage

Seismologist Krešimir Kuk said that the earthquake that hit the area around Gračac on Sunday was strong, but there were no reports of material damage. He also stressed that this earthquake should not be associated with earthquakes from the Zagreb epicentral area because they are not directly related.

“The earthquake was moderately strong to strong. Therefore, it was a strong earthquake that manifested itself and was felt significantly in the narrower epicentral area, which caused great concern among the citizens. It was felt in the wider area, all the way to Zadar, Biograd, Knin,” Kuk told N1 television.

He added that the area around Gračac, Knin, and the southern part of the coast is also very seismically active and earthquakes occur there.

"It was a strong earthquake, but not so strong that it should cause material damage, and we hope that it's normal seismic activity," concluded seismologist Krešimir Kuk.


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Monday, 14 September 2020

Minor Earthquake Jolted Zagreb on Sunday, EMSC Said

ZAGREB, Sept 14, 2020 - A minor earthquake jolted Zagreb, measuring 1.9 on the Richter scale, shortly before midnight on Sunday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The earthquake occurred at 11.55 pm and had its epicenter eight kilometers northeast of Zagreb, the EMSC said.

The Croatian Seismological Service later said that the earthquake measured 2.2 on the Richter scale.

This was yet another in a series of minor tremors that had occurred since March 22 when a magnitude 5.5 quake struck the capital, leaving extensive property damage and fatally injuring a girl.

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Friday, 11 September 2020

Act on Post-earthquake Reconstruction of Zagreb and its Environs Passed

ZAGREB, Sept 11, 2020 - The Croatian parliament on Friday adopted the act on the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and of Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb Counties, with 124 parliamentary deputies supporting the legislation.

A total of 138 parliamentary deputies participated in the voting, and ten abstained from it, while four voted against.

In the 151-seat parliament, apart from deputies of the 76-strong ruling majority, also some of the Opposition lawmakers voted for the act.

Four parliamentary deputies who are self-isolating voted via video link, which happened for the first time in the Croatian legislature.

Under the act, the government will provide 60% of the funding for the structural reconstruction of private buildings, while local government units and owners will each contribute 20%.

Property owners whose monthly income does not exceed HRK 4,000 and those whose property was worth less than HRK 200,000 on the day of the earthquake will also be entitled to free reconstruction. This will also apply to disabled Homeland War veterans, disabled persons, and welfare beneficiaries who receive maintenance support.

The owners of the property which will be reconstructed under this scheme are not allowed to sell it within five years upon the rebuilding.

The government is supposed to inform the parliament once a year about the process of reconstruction under this act.

26,000 buildings damaged in the 22 March quake

The March 22 earthquake has been the most destructive in the last 100 years and it claimed the life of a young girl in downtown Zagreb.

The damage caused is estimated at HRK 86 billion, which is about 60% of the state budget and surpasses anything Croatia has experienced.

Some 25,000 buildings were damaged in the City of Zagreb, 510 in Zagreb County, and 409 in Krapina-Zagorje County, or nearly 26,000 buildings in total. About 1.5% of them are public buildings and 98.5% are privately owned.

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Monday, 24 August 2020

Zagreb Earthquake: Poorer Will Not Pay For Home Reconstruction

August 24, 2020 – Government proposes all reconstruction costs be borne by the state and city for the poorest homeowners in society.

In new government proposals, poorer residents of Zagreb and the two neighbouring counties most affected by this year's earthquake will pay nothing towards the cost of home reconstruction. The new proposals contained in the Law on Reconstruction of Zagreb will be officially presented in a government session on Thursday 27 August and then to parliament on September 2 or 3.

Homeowners in the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, and Zagreb County whose residencies were damaged are those affected by the new proposals. If a homeowner or cohabiting couple earns HRK 8,000 a month or less and does not have assets of more than HRK 200,000, the state and the city will finance the entirety of their home renovations.

In the law's first reading, it was proposed that structural renovation costs be borne 60% by the state, 20% by city or regional government, and 20% by property owners and co-owners. Property owners whose income did not exceed HRK 4,000 per month in the previous year (or cohabiting couples earning less than HRK 8,000 per month), will now be exempt from any contributions towards reconstruction, provided they did not hold assets exceeding HRK 200,000 on the day of the earthquake, 22 March 2020. Assets refer to real estate, motor vehicles, and vessels, savings and shares.

For people meeting the criteria, apartment and house renovation costs will be borne 80% by the state, and 20% by city or regional government (City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, or Zagreb County). Reconstruction costs of the homes belonging to those left disabled of the Homeland War or beneficiaries of social care who receive maintenance assistance will also be fully financed.

Damage to a dwelling on Ilica in central Zagreb © Franjo Tahy

The proposals are aimed at assisting the poorest homeowners affected, although the implications stretch much further

People who do not meet the low income/low asset criteria, who do not have a home insurance policy, must pay for 20% of their home renovation. Those who do have an insurance policy can request payment or partial payment of that 20% by their insurers.

It is possible that some unmarried couples who are living together, but not officially co-habiting, and whose income and assets exceed the set amount, could benefit before other couples who are married and legally co-habiting.

There are also potentially serious implications for those who are on a very low income, but who have inherited a property worth more than HRK 200,000 (approx €26,500).

In the final bill, there remains a provision for mortgaging real estate if the owners and co-owners cannot secure 20% of building renovation costs.

The new proposals also include the possibility of obtaining financial assistance for the repair of staircases in buildings, in addition to previously announced assistance for the repair of gable walls, elevators, chimneys, and the replacement of gas boilers.

Damage from the earthquake in Zagreb and surroundings was estimated at 86.4 billion kuna (approx €11.5 billion). The new proposals mean that a larger amount than this previous estimation will now be needed.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Central Croatia

Zagreb, August 23, 2020 – The EMSC reports that the epicentre of the earthquake was 66 kilometres south of Zagreb or 6 kilometres north-northwest of Velika Kladuša in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Today, five months after two big earthquakes hit Zagreb, a new, but slightly weaker earthquake was recorded in Central Croatia at round 19:00 writes Večernji. Namely, the earthquake was recorded near the Croatian town of Slunj, and it was magnitude 3.2 on the Richter scale.

Citizens report that the earthquake was felt in Glina, Topusko, and Vrbovec.



Witnesses have written to the EMSC to state that they felt a slight tremor with the accompanying sound and that everything lasted for a few seconds.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Croatian Red Cross to Provide Financial Aid to Owners of Quake-Damaged Homes

ZAGREB, July 20, 2020 - The Croatian Red Cross will donate HRK 2 million to residents whose homes were severely damaged in the 22 March earthquake that hit Zagreb and northwestern Croatia.

Applications for financial aid can be submitted from 21 July to 17 August.

Aid can be sought by owners of properties declared unfit for use provided that such applicants also meet some other social criteria that make them eligible. For instance, single parents with a minimum gross monthly wage of HRK 4,062 or pensioners with a pension allowance of less than 2,000 per member of their household are eligible for aid.

The two million kunas for this purpose was raised through donations from private individuals, companies, and international organisations.

More information is available at 

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Thursday, 18 June 2020

INA Donates HRK 800 K Each To 3 Cultural Institutions Damaged In Earthquake

ZAGREB, June 18, 2020 - The INA oil company has donated a total of HRK 2.4 million to three cultural and scientific institutions, with each receiving HRK 800,000 to repair the damage caused by a destructive earthquake that struck Zagreb in March this year.

The Croatian Academy of Science and Arts (HAZU), Museum of Arts and Crafts (MUO) and Archaeological Museum on Thursday each received the donations in the HAZU palace, which too was damaged in the quake.

INA CEO Sandor Fasimon presented the donations to HAZU president Velimir Neidhardt, MUO director Miroslav Gasparovic and the director of the Archaeological Museum, Sanjin Mihelic.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Earthquake Damage HRK 86 bn, Croatia Applies For Support From EU Solidarity Fund

ZAGREB, June 10, 2020 - The Croatian government will apply to the European Commission for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund in repairing damage caused by an earthquake that struck Zagreb and its environs on March 22. The damage is estimated at €11.5 billion, while the maximum amount that can be obtained from the fund is €600 million.

During its meeting on Wednesday, the government adopted a conclusion on the application for financial support from the EU Solidarity Fund which has been aligned with the methodology used by the UN, EU, and World Bank, which is essential for submitting a request for assistance from the fund.

Based on this methodology, the direct damage caused by the quake to 25,000 buildings in Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County is estimated at HRK 86 billion or €11.5 billion, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said, adding that the European Commission had been sensitized about Croatia's application and would consider it.

The maximum amount of aid from the fund is €600 million and Croatia expects the first installment of €100 million this summer and the rest by the end of the year.

The aid funds can be used for 18 months after being approved.

To illustrate the extent of the damage, Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Marko Pavic said that the EU's seven-year financial envelope for Croatia amounts to €10.7 billion.

According to Pavic, such aid can primarily be used for the reconstruction of hospitals and schools, infrastructure and energy supply installations, drinking water, and telecommunications facilities.

Prime Minister Plenkovic added that the total amount of direct damage caused by the earthquake was equal to 60% of the state budget and that 22 Peljesac bridges with access roads could be built with that amount.

He announced that the government would seek other sources to finance the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs, adding that donor conferences were not an option in the EU because they were organised for third countries.

Of the aid from the fund, HRK 54 million (€7.2 million) would go towards covering the costs of accommodation rental for citizens who cannot return to their own homes, strengthening the infrastructure of cultural heritage, and the costs of cleaning operations, Minister Pavic added.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

International Medical Corps' Donation Delivered To Croatia

ZAGREB, June 3, 2020 - A HRK 1 million donation of the International Medical Corps from the USA was presented to Croatia's Health Ministry on Wednesday by the head of the Croatian office of that global humanitarian organization, Ivana Petkovic.

The donation, delivered to the Croatian civil protection directorate's logistic centre in Jastrebarsko, consists of 70,400 KN95 ventilator masks, 12,000 face shields, and 18 pulse oximeters. The donation is aimed at contributing to the protection of Croatian medical staff against the coronavirus.

Seeing that Zagreb and its environs were struck by the March 22 devastating earthquake which put some of the health institutions and medical equipment out of use, the International Medical Corps made this donation in an effort to relieve the consequences of the earthquake, the civil protection directorate informed.

In attendance at the donation-delivery ceremony was US Ambassador to Croatia William Robert Kohorst, Croatian Assistant Interior Minister Damir Trut, and the director of the Croatian Emergency Medical Service, Maja Grba Bujevic.

The International Medical Corps is a global, nonprofit, humanitarian aid organisation dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering by providing emergency medical services, as well as healthcare training and development programs, to those affected by disaster, disease or conflict.

Croatia has intensified its cooperation with the USA in the area of civil protection over the past five years particularly with the Minnesota National Guard in the segment of disaster response preparedness through exchanging the know-how in the prevention and participating in exercises in the field.

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