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.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Interview: HGSS Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja

December 31, 2020 – Croatian firemen, army, police and medical workers worked through after the earthquake in Sisak Moslavina County on 29 December 2020. We wanted to get a sense of the demand on and the experiences of emergency services, so we spoke with Josip Granić. Head Of Service for HGSS, who was coordinating the efforts of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja

This interview took place in Petrinja, just before 12.30pm on Wednesday 30 December 2020

Right now we have around 120 people here. Last night we sent some home. During the height of the operation, we had 192 members of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja and the surrounding towns and villages. Firefighters and police from all over Croatia came. There are more than 200 army personnel here too.


Because we are part of the operational team of the National Civil Protection, we were already here and involved in the response to the first earthquake. After yesterday's earthquake, I called each HGSS station across Croatia and asked them to prepare at least one vehicle and one team to come and join the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja. The first extra teams to arrive were from this county - Sisak and Novska. They got here around 2pm. Teams from Orebic, Peljesac and Split arrived maybe last, because of the large distance they had to travel. One team came by car, another came by helicopter.

What was the situation like for Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja when the wider team first started to arrive after the second day's larger earthquake?

If I said it was chaos, that wouldn't be strong enough a word. The centre of the town was chaos. Everyone was busying themselves with responding – people were moving debris, firefighters were making their way through, ambulances and police moving through, people of the city in the streets helping out. The streets were filled with dust and smoke. You could hear the sounds of floors and roofs and buildings collapsing all around you.

What were the first undertakings for the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja?

Well, our first response was not only in Petrinja – we were immediately in some of the surrounding villages too. The very first thing we did was send in our search teams and the specially trained dogs we work with. We were instructed by locals. They told us which of the collapsed buildings were likely to have people trapped beneath them. We immediately found one person. It was in the town hall. One lady. The entire ceiling had fallen on top of her. Our colleague from Ogulin found her with his dog. The firefighters worked so fast, so hard to dig her out. They were excellent. It took four and a half hours to get her out. She was lucky. Unfortunately, we also found four more people who were already dead.

We saw quite a lot of volunteers. Who is organising them?

There are many different groups. Many local people were the first ones out on the streets, volunteering. Then, those from the immediate area came - four friends in a car, that kind of thing. |NGOs arrived next – veterans, charities and so on. Then, football fans from all over Croatia arrived. Supporters groups had organised coaches to bring themselves here. At first, nobody was organising them and it was a bit of a problem. They organised themselves. But, it was such chaos that some emergency vehicles, including search and rescue teams of Croatian Mountain Rescue Service in Petrinja, could not pass through the town. This is dangerous because, in search and rescue, your ability to respond quickly is vitally important. After dark, things began to run more smoothly. Many worked until 3am or 4am, then they were sent home. The ones who didn't arrive until much later in the night were incorporated into Civil Protection and assigned to work the next day in villages and towns outside Petrinja, where help was needed.


How has the demand on what you do changed since yesterday?

It hasn't changed that much. We have been visiting villages throughout the county as quickly as we can, searching for people who may be trapped. Some of these places have not yet been reached by the other emergency services, but they will get to them. We found another alive person who was trapped today. Since early in the morning we have searched 84 villages.

What advice would you give someone who wants to come here to volunteer?

Organise it first with Civil protection. If it is organised with them, then you know you won't be in the way and you will be going to where help is needed. If it's organised with them first, then come. There's a job for everyone who wants it here.

How different is the demand on emergency services in this earthquake compared to the earthquake in Zagreb in March 2020?

Well, our services were not requested during the Zagreb earthquake and a lot of that is because of the structural integrity of the buildings in Zagreb. Most were strong enough to survive that big earthquake. The ones which were damaged were only partially damaged. Many buildings in Zagreb were hardly damaged at all and so many people in Zagreb were relatively unaffected by that earthquake. Here, everyone is affected.

All images © HGSS

Thursday, 31 December 2020

PHOTOS: Majske Poljane, Glina and Petrinja One Day After The Earthquake

December 31, 2020 – Total Croatia News visited Majske Poljane, Glina and Petrinja one day after the earthquake. It is difficult to find words to describe the devastation we saw. Perhaps pictures tell the story better

Majske Poljane

Majske Poljane is a rural community. Such was the devastation here, it was difficult to tell which of the destroyed buildings had yesterday been used for agriculture or if they'd been homes


TCN's Paul Bradbury talks to Majske Poljane resident Vladimir who confirmed that, yes, the building across the lane had been a home, his neighbours had lived there just 24 hours earlier



Doors of houses left ajar, windows collapsed, smashed and broken. Inside, you can see everyday lives, stopped suddenly, frozen in time





Croatian soldiers quickly constructing emergency shelters in the freezing fog of early morning. They came from all over Croatia. Unsure if their damaged houses were structurally safe, parents and children of Glina, surrounding villages and Petrinja stood in gardens and fields, keeping warm around fires. With no electricity, they cooked on barbecues.


Majske Poljane seemed like the most silent place on earth. No single sound, not even bird song.



Even the three village dogs left behind padded around the wet road in silence


Croatian firefighters walk heavily through the mist-filled streets of Glina





The entire upper floor of this house had collapsed, crushing completely the floor underneath


Volunteers at work on the roofs of two neighbouring houses, between Glina and Petrinja one day after the earthquake. The volunteers had come from all over Croatia

Petrinja one day after the earthquake




Even in the miserably wet winter weather, the greeting sign to Petrinja one day after the earthquake might still have looked cheery, if you couldn't see all the emergency vehicles in the background. 




If you didn't know any better, these might look like damaged derelict buildings. But, 24 hours earlier, these had been a row of thriving storefronts, right in the centre of Petrinja one day after the earthquake







Damage to the train station in Sisak. A considerably larger city than Petrinja one day after the earthquake, not one business we passed was working - no supermarkets, no fast-food restaurants. Nothing. Groups of teenagers roamed the streets with nothing to do and nowhere to go


The Parish church of St. Nikola and Vida, Žažina near Petrinja one day after the earthquake


This is how the church had looked just one day earlier. A couple of metres from the church, remnants of the fire that parishioners had gathered around on Badnjak (Christmas Eve). We later learned that the church organist had been cleaning the organ when the earthquake struck, and tragically he was killed. 


Photo of the Parish church of St. Nikola and Vida, Žažina courtesy of the church, all other photos © Marc Rowlands

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Croatians Rally, Offer Free Accommodation For Earthquake Affected

December 29, 2020 – As buildings toppled in Petrinja and Sisak today, Croatian emergency services were quick to respond. They weren't the only ones - the Croatian public has quickly rallied round to offer free accommodation for earthquake affected

The sound of sirens was heard for the second day running in in Sisak-Moslavina County today. Some emergency responders were still on the scene, in Petrinja and Sisak, dealing with the aftermath of yesterday's sizeable earthquake. Though today's was much larger, more sustained and much more devastating, Croatian firemen, police and ambulance services did not blink and occupied themselves with helping wherever it was needed. They weren't the only ones.

marinicoffer.jpgŽeljko and Ružica Marinic of Villa Marinic (pictured) and Apartmani Marinic in Primosten were quick to offer free accommodation for earthquake affected at four free apartments. Their son-in-law David posted the offer - which also includes food and support for families with children - across social media

Less than an hour after today's earthquake, help from private individuals flooded social media pages as Croatia rallied round to offer free accommodation for earthquake affected. Holiday homes across Dalmatia and Istria were readily given up as free accommodation for earthquake affected, many of them making their way to a dedicated Facebook group set up specifically for the purpose.


But, it wasn't just empty holiday villas by the coast that were made available. People across Croatia have offered to open up their own homes to offer free accommodation for earthquake affected. Apartments and sub-apartments in cities across the country have been made available. To offer free accommodation for earthquake affected for tonight and for however long necessary is a timely and generous move by these private citizens – at just after 4.30pm this evening, rain started to pour down on the affected area and those still stuck outside. Support and offers of accommodation came not only from Croatians at home in the country - Croatian National Team footballer Dejan Lovren opened up the doors to the hotel he owns in Novalja, Pag island for those affected by the earthquake in Petrinja.



Recognising the gravity of the situation, Croatian authorities revoked travel restrictions between the country's counties in order to facilitate volunteers and family members travelling to Sisak-Moslavina County today to help out, and to allow residents of the county to take up the offer of free accommodation for earthquake affected.