Tuesday, 6 April 2021

New, 4.6 Magnitude Quake Hit Sisak Area

ZAGREB, 6 April, 2021 (Hina) - An earthquake measuring 4.6 degrees on the Richter scale rocked the areas of Sisak and Petrinja just before 11am Tuesday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said.

The epicentre of the quake, which occurred at 10.54am, was 24 kilometres south of Sisak.

The newest quake coincide with the 354th anniversary of the most devastating earthquake ever recorded in Croatia which hit Dubrovnik in 1667. The intensitiy of that quake was IX on EMS98 scale.

For more about earthquakes in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved: Local Hospitality Sector Could Take Over Food Preparation in Quake-Hit Area

ZAGREB, 1 April, 2021 - War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved, who heads the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County, has said that local communities could take over, through local hospitality service providers, the preparation of meals for people affected by the quake.

This past weekend the Croatian Red Cross (HCK) distributed 21,000 tonnes of food, 14,000 warm meals and 5,675 litres of water, Medved said at a government session on Thursday.

He said that local government units had been suggested to take over, if possible, through local providers of hospitality services, the preparation of meals, which would help local employers and enable employment of local workers.

Medved noted that the state would continue to pay for the meals as long as necessary.

He added that water in the entire area was safe for consumption and that the HCK and the Croatian Firefighters Association were working on pumping out and rehabilitating wells, with 63 wells having been pumped out and 42 rehabilitated.

The local water supply network is being reconstructed and a new network of arterial water mains is being built, he said.

"Requests have been submitted for the removal of 560 buildings and 6,447 requests have been submitted for renovation work," Medved said speaking about the situation three months since the 6.2 magnitude earthquake.

So far, 1,805 housing containers and small houses have been installed and 2,141 have been connected to the power grid.

Five new mobile network stations have been installed to improve mobile signal strength.

By 28 March, 37,954 facilities were inspected, and of them 4,602 were found to be unfit to live in, 8,180 were found to need repair work and 25,000 were found to be fit to live in, Medved said.

For more about earhquake in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Fairly Strong Earthquake Registered in the Adriatic

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - A fairly strong earthquake was recorded at 9.35 am in the Adriatic Sea with its epicentre some 60 kilometres south of Vis Island, the Croatian Seismology Service said on Tuesday.

The service reported that the earthquake measured 4.2 on the Richter scale and had an intensity in the epicentre of V-VI degrees on the EMS scale.

For more about earthquakes in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Earthquake Victims Start Moving Into Housing Container Settlement in Glina

ZAGREB, 27 March 2021 - The head of the task force dealing with the aftermath of last year's earthquake, Tomo Medved, in Glina, on Saturday formally handed over 39 housing and several service containers to Mayor Stjepan Kostanjević for use by residents left homeless after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Croatia on 29 December.  

The 15th housing container settlement was set up in Sisak-Moslavina County after the earthquake, and it cost  HRK 3.7 million.

Medved expressed hope that living in these containers would be much better than in makeshift accommodation. He announced an even larger settlement in Sisak and four smaller ones, two in Mošćenica and two in Sisak. The construction of a prefab housing estate in Majur is nearing completion. 

In the reconstruction process, Medved announced that repair works on houses with damaged chimneys would intensify as of early May. He said that 25,000 houses in the county had suffered minor damage, such as damage to chimneys and gable walls.

Medved said that it was important that people had safe accommodation and support in food, electricity, and other essential services while waiting for their homes to be repaired, which he said would take time.

Thirty-one families, or 72 people, will be living in the housing container settlement in Glina, and the first two families have moved in today, Mayor Kostanjević said. He added that 55 residents of Glina were staying in Topusko, and some would return to Glina to live in the containers.

To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Strike at HŽ Infrastruktura Railway Company Called Off

ZAGREB, 24 March, 2021 - Three representative railway workers' unions whose members are employees of the HŽ Infrastruktura railway company have called off a strike announced for noon on 25 March after reaching a compromise solution and signing a new collective agreement with the employer.

The leader of one of the three unions, Mario Grbešić, told Hina that the dispute with the employer had been about two provisions, one being a non-taxable wage supplement and the other meal allowances.

"An agreement has been reached concerning these two issues in a satisfactory way. One will be implemented immediately and the other will be in force as of 1 January next year," Grbešić said.

Under the new collective agreement, to be in force from 1 April this year until 30 June 2022, as of 1 April workers have the right to a HRK 416 non-taxable wage supplement each month.

As of 1 January 2022, workers will receive a meal allowance of HRK 1.30 per each working hour.

They will also receive an Easter bonus of HRK 500, holiday pay of HRK 1,300 and a Christmas bonus of HRK 1,200.

The three unions that were planning to strike represent railway workers, train dispatchers and railway infrastructure workers.

The previous collective agreement expired on 28 February.

The unions further expressed their willingness to postpone negotiations on the cost of labour until the last quarter of this year considering the economic situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last year's earthquakes.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Earthquake Damage Estimated at €5.5 Billion

ZAGREB, 18 March, 2021 - The damage caused by a string of earthquakes that struck central Croatia in December 2020 has been estimated at €5.5 billion, based on which Croatia will apply for €319.19 million from the European Union's Solidarity Fund, the government said at its meeting on Thursday.

The direct damage caused by the earthquakes was estimated, in accordance with EU rules and the methodology used by the World Bank, at HRK 41.6 billion or €5.5 billion, which is 10.2% of the country's gross national income, the Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, Darko Horvat, reported.

EU member states are entitled to aid from the European Solidarity Fund if total direct damage caused by a major natural disaster exceeds 0.6% of the country’s gross national income.

Horvat said that this included the damage done in Sisak-Moslavina County, Karlovac County and Zagreb County, subsequent damage in the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County, as well as damage done to individual properties in Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Virovitica-Podravina County, Požega-Slavonia County, Osijek-Baranja County, Međimurje County, Varaždin County and Koprivnica-Križevci County.

Based on this damage assessment, Croatia can apply for a contribution of €319.19 million from the European Solidarity Fund and will do so, said the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Nataša Tramišak.

Emergency measures that qualify for EU funding include restoration of infrastructure and plants in the energy sector, water supply, waste-water management, telecommunications, transport, healthcare and education, provision of temporary accommodation, rescue services, cultural heritage protection, and clean-up operations.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that he had discussed this matter with relevant EU authorities last week and announced that this week Croatia would apply for funding from the Solidarity Fund.

"I am confident that this time too, just as was the case with initial damage from the earthquakes, we will receive strong support from this European fund," the prime minister said.

For more about earthquakes in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman Thanks Greece For Post-Earthquake Aid

ZAGREB, 12 March, 2021 - Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman on Friday thanked his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Dendias for his country's aid to Croatia after last year's devastating earthquakes.

"I'm taking this opportunity to thank Minister Dendias for the generous and prompt humanitarian aid that Greece sent to earthquake-hit areas in Croatia," Grlić Radman said in Athens, where he arrived for an official visit a day after visiting Cyprus.

"Greece itself was recently hit by strong earthquakes and I'm conveying our support and willingness to help," he added.

Greece was struck by two tremors earlier this month, the strongest measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, which caused material damage but no fatalities.

Support for Croatia's membership bids

Grlić Radman also thanked Dendias for the Greek support for Croatia's accession to MED7, a group which comprises seven Mediterranean EU member states - Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.

He also thanked Dendias for supporting Croatia's accession to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the euro and Schengen areas.

The two ministers underlined the importance of continuing EU enlargement to Southeast Europe and of Brussels having a consistent policy so that candidates do not lose the European perspective.

Grlić Radman cited Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is having a hard time managing the migrant crisis, and underlined solidarity with Greece, which is also on the front line of that "big political, security and economic problem."

The minister said they were pleased with the increase in Croatian-Greek trade, singling out the Greek company Avax, which is building access roads to the Pelješac Bridge in Croatia.

 For more about earthquakes in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

More Than 1,000 Tonnes of Fodder For Earthquake Areas

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - The Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday that it had received more than a thousand tonnes of fodder for earthquake-hit areas and that more than 868 tonnes had been distributed to farmers, adding that it was in the process of procuring an additional 621 tonnes valued at HRK 1.5 million.

The ministry said in a press release that as of 1 March 1,012 tonnes of fodder had been received in warehouses in Petrinja and Glina and that more than 868 tonnes had been distributed through 3,627 individual donations.

The fodder was received through donations from 69 donors from all over Croatia.

The ministry advised that it is launching procedures for the procurement of an additional 621 tonnes of fodder valued a HRK 1.5 million which will ensure enough fodder for cattle in earthquake affected areas for one month's time.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that the ministry was endeavouring to secure all the necessary preconditions so that production doesn't stop in Banovina. In addition to providing fodder for animals, the ministry mediated in the temporary transfer of 306 head of cattle as well as selling 234 head at fair market prices.

She recalled that all animals in the area are eligible for free vaccination and veterinary treatment until 31 March. The expected cost of that measure amounts to HRK 10.5 million and it will be financed from the state budget.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Government Says All of Earthquake Relief Donations to be Spent on Reconstruction, Housing

ZAGREB, 25 February, 2021 - All of the HRK 101.5 million collected in donations for earthquake relief will be spent on housing reconstruction - the demolition of damaged houses and construction of new ones - in the earthquake-struck areas, the government said on Thursday.

The government adopted a decision on the distribution of donations to the state budget for earthquake relief, allocating that money to a special account of the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković denied media reports that only 40% of the donations would be used to rebuild quake-damaged houses and that the rest would be allocated to four ministries.

"I wish to deny media reports that appeared today. The distribution of the funds will be completely different from what has been reported," said Plenković, adding that the donations collected would be "spent on reconstruction in the earthquake-struck areas."

"There must be no unclarities about that," said Plenković.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said that by 24 February a total of HRK 101.5 million had been collected in donations and that the money would be allocated to the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing. It will be used to remove damaged houses and build new ones as well as perform other work within the remit of that office, he said.

Any donations that are received subsequently will also be allocated on a monthly basis to the central reconstruction office, he said, adding that the office is obliged to report to the government each month as to what the money has been spent on as well as publish this information on its web site.

"We have been informing the public in the most transparent way of donations received and will continue to do so," said Marić.

He said that an assessment of the damage caused by the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County is being made and that it was likely to exceed by far that for the Zagreb earthquake.

The main source of financing for the reconstruction process will be the state budget, that is, taxpayers' money, and there is also money from the EU Solidarity Fund and international financial institutions, 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.

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