Thursday, 23 September 2021

Sisak Earthquake Photo Exhibition: Between Two Waitings by Miroslav Arbutina Arba

September 23, 2021 - The Sisak earthquake photo exhibition titled "Between Two Waitings" by Miroslav Arbutina Arba shows the horror of the 2020 earthquake in Sisak through documentary photos with an artistic touch.

The 6.3 magnitude earthquake on December 29 that severely damaged Petrinja and Sisak has traces which haven't faded as repairs and re-construction are still very much needed, and the Sisak earthquake photo exhibition will surely highlight the stark reality of post-earthquake life.

With Prime Minister Andrej Plenković promising earlier in September to accelerate post-earthquake reconstruction, a return to normal life in Sisak (architecture-wise) is yet to happen.

Meanwhile, as suffering is known to produce art, citizens of Zagreb (who also are not strangers to earthquakes) can closely observe the damage Sisak went through at Zagreb's Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU). In honour of European Heritage Day (September 18), MSU is hosting the Sisak City Museum by presenting the exhibition ''Between Two Waitings'' by famous Sisak photographer Miroslav Arbutina Arba. The exhibition opened on September 20, and it can be viewed until October 10.

The showcased photos which are part of the Sisak earthquake photo exhibition are a product of Arbutina being hired by the Culture Ministry to document the damage caused to cultural heritage for the purpose of evaluating the damage and producing documentation. As TCN reported earlier, the quake damage to cultural heritage in Central Croatia is estimated at €640 million.

''Arbutina gave a significant contribution to reconstruction efforts after the earthquake. His photos are, first and foremost, a witness to what happened, but with a clear artistic context. Photographing for the sake of documenting damage, he also found other motives that a regular observer does not notice. These motives, although they may exist in the documentary context, are nonetheless part of the same mosaic,'' wrote Vlatko Čakširan of the Sisak City Museum, who is also the curator for the exhibition on the MSU website.

''Those who haven't experienced this catastrophe probably think that losing your house is the worst thing, but it isn't. To me, the worse thing was expecting another new earthquake, that time of uncertainty between the two strikes,'' said Arbutina explaining the name of his exhibition.

Arbutina was born in Sisak on January 5, 1959. He took an interest in photography in the '80s when he got a Russian camera, a Lubitel, as a gift. Like many people in Sisak, he worked in a local ironware factory until he decided to try his hand at making a living solely from photography, taking industrial photos for brochures, etc.

During the Homeland War, he started working for various newspapers and other agencies. Enrolled in various projects (such as ''How Fish See Us'' where he took underwater photos of fish and plants in the Kupa river), his work received various rewards, and he moved from digital photography to experiment with the older technics of photography.

Learn more about Croatian Art Galleries in Zagreb, Dalmatia, Istria and Slavonia on our TC page.

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

Sunday, 19 September 2021

HUT: Over 1,000 Pupils From Quake-Hit Sisak County Offered Free Seaside Holidays

ZAGREB, 19 Sept, 2021 - The Croatian Tourism Association (HUT) continues implementing its project of offering free seaside holidays for primary and secondary school students from the earthquake-affected areas in Sisak-Moslavina County.

All the 12 hotel companies within HUT, in cooperation with four ministries, decided to provide free holidays on the coast for over 1,000 students and teachers from 13 schools in the quake-hit Sisak-Moslavina County's areas.

At the launch of the scheme in June, 180 pupils from three elementary schools spent the summer holidays in Valamar hotels in Istria.

The implementation of the programme resumed in mid-September for students from the remaining 10 schools covered by the scheme and will last until mid-October.

The free-of-charge stay is provided in the following hotels: Aminess hoteli Novigrad, Plava laguna Poreč, Maistra Rovinj, Arena Hospitality Group Pula, Jadranka Mali Lošinj, Jadran Crikvenica, Hoteli Omišalj, Falkensteiner Zadar, Turisthotel Zadar, Bluesun Hoteli Zagreb, Imperial Riviera Rab and Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Split.

HUT director Veljko Ostojić was quoted as saying that he was glad to see that the successful tourist season could be wrapped up with this charitable action.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 2 September 2021

PM: We Will Do Everything to Accelerate Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 2 Sept 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that the government would do everything to accelerate the process of post-earthquake reconstruction, and recalled that new tenders for about 4,000 houses in Banovina would be advertised already today and tomorrow.

"We will make every effort to speed up that process... and the Ministry of Construction and State Assets will present a comprehensive proposal of measures and possible legal changes which should make the entire reconstruction process more efficient and faster," Plenković said at the beginning of a government session.

As for the beginning of the new school year, the prime minister expressed satisfaction with the increase in the number of vaccinated persons in the school system.

"They set a good example and motive to those that haven't done that yet," he said.

Currently, 57.5% of the teaching staff in primary and secondary schools have been given at least one shot against COVID-19 and in tertiary education, this percentage is higher, 64.5%,  Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Wednesday.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Petrinja Area

ZAGREB, 24 July, 2021 - An earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale shook the Petrinja area of central Croatia at 3.43 pm on Saturday, the Croatian Seismological Service said.

The intensity at the epicentre was V degrees on the EMS scale. The tremor was felt in the wider area of Petrinja, Sisak and Glina.

The area was struck by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 29 December 2020 and a series of aftershocks, leaving seven people killed and extensive property damage.

For more latest news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

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.

Friday, 19 March 2021

Quake Damage Done to Cultural Heritage in Central Croatia Estimated at €640 Million

ZAGREB, 19 March, 2021 - Damage done to listed buildings and monuments in the quake-hit Sisak-Moslavina County has been estimated at €400 million, while the total damage done to cultural heritage in all the quake-hit areas of Croatia is put at €640 million.

These figures were presented on Friday after Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek met the task force for dealing with quake aftermath in Sisak-Moslavina County for the talks on registering the damage to cultural heritage.

Obuljen Koržinek informed the task force of the next steps to be taken including urgent measures for the protection and preparation of documentation for the reconstruction of individual listed buildings and monuments.

Reconstruction will be such that it will preserve all the features of the area, however, (listed) buildings will also be renovated to be quake-resistant and energy efficient, the minister said.

Yesterday, we estimated the damage to cultural heritage at €640 million, with just over €400 million in Sisak-Moslavina County and just over €200 million in the nine other affected counties. As far as listed buildings in Petrinja alone are concerned, the damage done to them is estimated at more than €100 million, said Minister Obuljen Koržinek.

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

 

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake Hit Petrinja and Sisak Area, Felt in Zagreb

February 18, 2021 – A rather strong earthquake hit the Petrinja and Sisak area today at around 1:08 pm. It was also felt in other parts of Central Croatia, mostly in Zagreb.

Today, February 18, 2021, at 1:08 pm, seismologists from the Croatian Seismological Service recorded a relatively strong earthquake with the epicenter not far from Petrinja, near Glinska Poljana. The magnitude of the quake was 4.0 according to Richter and the intensity in the epicenter of the 5th degree of the EMS scale.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) estimates the earthquake's magnitude was 4.2. The epicenter was 17 km northwest of Sisak and 45 km from Zagreb, at a depth of 2 km.

Citizens from all over central Croatia report they felt the earthquake – from Zagreb, Karlovac, Velika Gorica, Sisak, Petrinja, Varaždin – and even from Ptuj in Slovenia. In just a few minutes, the EMSC collected thousands of earthquake reports. According to citizens' reports, the earthquake was a short but strong blow and waving.

"At first, it seemed to rumble, and then it shook for a few seconds," said one witness.

"About five seconds of good shaking in the Maksimir area. Another intensive aftershock," said another witness.

"A hit, then prolonged rocking, six to seven seconds duration," are some more of the comments from witnesses.

As Index reports, the earthquake was felt even during the Government session in the National and University Library in Zagreb.

"Here, we have just felt an earthquake in the National and University Library," Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said during the session.

After this first blow, two more slight tremors hit Sisak and its surroundings, magnitudes 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale. The EMSC reports that these are all aftershocks of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Petrinja and Sisak-Moslavina County on December 29, 2020, and left many damages.

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Croatia Earthquakes: Why, Where and When They Happen

January 19, 2021 – The relief effort is nationwide, international. Media pages are awash with the aftermath and repercussions. The devastating earthquake in Petrinja has created unforgettable images and changed lives forever. With the ground still shaking from sizeable aftershocks, we caught up with one of the country's leading geologists, working in the field near Petrinja, to as him why, where and when Croatia earthquakes happen?

“Once in 100 years”, they said, after the large earthquake hit Zagreb in March 2020. But, in late December, another. This time near Petrinja. Then, unbelievably, an even greater tremor - the biggest yet - on the following day. The aftershocks are considerable. They arrive after those from March's earthquake had only just begun to subside. It's a little wonder people can't sleep at night.

Stood on this shaky surface, our nerves on edge and with too many questions to ask, TCN tried to find some solid ground by turning to science. We spoke with one of the best-placed people in the country to tell us all about Croatia Earthquakes - why they happen, where they happen and when they will happen. We interviewed Josip Stipčević of the Geophysics Department, University of Zagreb, while he was on-site in Petrinja.

JosipStipevi.jpgJosip Stipčević and the Geology Department of the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb © University of Zagreb

My name is Josip Stipčević and I'm an assistant professor in the Department of Geophysics at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb. At our faculty, part of what we do is explore underground and undertake research using seismic waves. We record earthquakes. The geology department explores rocks.

Seismologists and geologists have instruments all around Croatia that record earthquakes. Immediately following the large earthquake near Petrinja, I joined geology colleagues in the near vicinity of the earthquake to look for surface ruptures, visible cracks on the surface. Because of the weather conditions and type of ground, it was important we go immediately because some of these expressions of the earthquake may be quickly lost.

The work we did will form the basis of a report that takes in geological and seismological findings. It's important to integrate these different sets of data with satellite and GPS measurements to learn as much as possible about the earthquake - why it happened, where it happened, what actually happened - how it progressed. You want to build up the most detailed and accurate account of the event. By doing this, it may give us a better understanding of what might take place in the future.

What we already knew was that this is an area where Croatia earthquakes happen. What we don't know is how often they happen or exactly why they happen - what are the forces that drive this build-up of strain in the earth's crust?

Croatian_Geological_Institute.jpgOutdoor educational board constructed by Professor Stipčević's colleagues from the Croatian Geological Institute © Croatian Geological Institute

There were quite a lot of us working in the area, over at least two different sites. It will take months more to analyze all of our findings. I was with a group from the University of Zagreb but there were colleagues from the Geology Institute also. A lot of us.

Croatia Earthquakes: Why do they happen?

Our Earth is a geologically alive planet. The Earth's core is hot. It is gradually cooling, over billions of years since it was formed. The heat must be released. There is convection taking place within the earth - a heat transfer. This is what drives the movement of the solid, outer layer of the earth which, using technical terms, we call the lithosphere. On the top of the lithosphere, there is a crust - like the outer layer of an onion. Here, the convection of the earth drives the movement of different tectonic plates that sit on the surface.

The_Lithosphere.pngThe Lithosphere, or 'Earth's crust' © KDS44

The surface of the Earth is broken up into several major parts. These are what we call the tectonic plates. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, except not all of the pieces fit so comfortably. These tectonic plates are moving because of the convection. They interact with each other. In some places, you have a divergence - where the plates are moving away from each other and new plates are forming. Then, you have plates where there is convergence - the plates are coming together. In those places, one plate is often going underneath the other or, like here - where we have two continental plates coming together, neither of which can sink beneath the other (because continental plates are more buoyant), we have an interaction where the plates collide. It is this collision that creates all of the mountain ranges in Europe - the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Dinaric Alps and so on. When the tectonic plates collide, there is an expression in the build-up of the energy. That is what an earthquake is.

tectonic_plates.pngThe major tectonic plates of the Earth in the present day © Public domain

The major plates in our region are the African plate and the Eurasian plate. They interact through the Mediterranean. But, it's not so simple. You also have small, fragmentary parts of the plate that are ‘stuck’ between these larger plates. One of these fragments, which is still attached to the African plate, is the Adriatic plate. It exists in the area of the Adriatic sea. Because of the movement of the Adriatic plate, you have material on both sides which is strained. This strain, or stress-energy, builds up in the crust and is released in Croatia earthquakes.

The_Adriatic_Plate.jpgThe Adriatic Plate © Public domain

It is this collision that has formed all of the mountains that exist all around the Adriatic - the Apennines, the Alps and the Dinaric Alps. It is also responsible for the range of volcanoes we find running down the west of Italy and the ones more towards the south of Italy, some of which are still active.

There are two kinds of tectonic plates - continental plates and oceanic plates. They are both different. The oceanic plates are thin and dense, very heavy. The continental plates are thick and more buoyant, less dense. It is so buoyant that it cannot sink back down into the mantle - the deeper parts of the Earth. But, the oceanic plates are dense enough to sink back into the mantle. When that happens, one expression is the formation of volcanoes.

The_volcanoes_of_Italy.jpgThe volcanoes of Italy, caused by the Adriatic Plate © Public domain

The Adriatic plate is partly oceanic and partly continental. Broadly speaking, the oceanic part of this plate is sinking beneath Italy, producing volcanoes. In Croatia, we mostly have the continental part of this plate. It cannot sink, so it instead collides and we have Croatia earthquakes. We had volcanoes here maybe 20 or 30 million years ago, but the part of the oceanic plate responsible for those was consumed. I'm speaking in very broads terms here - some of what you're asking me is really quite heavy stuff, ha! It's much more complex when you delve into it.

Croatia Earthquakes: What are the fault lines?

If you take a pencil between your hands and try to break it, the stress you create will find a point at which the pencil will break. The break in the pencil is like a fault line. It's a different kind of strain within the earth's crust, but the same principle applies. The force is absolutely ginormous and this action has been happening for billions of years, in our region alone it has been happening for many millions of years.

Because this has been taking place over such a long period of time and because the movement is still happening, some of the fault lines become inactive. Others are still active and new ones may even be created. In other parts of the world, these fault lines can run hundreds of kilometres long.

San_Andreas_Fault.jpgThe San Andreas Fault in California © John Wiley User: Jw4nvc - Santa Barbara, California

We don't really speak of 'active faults' because it's so hard to measure them. Some of them exist very deep in the earth. Some of them have surface expressions, but not all. So, it's not easy to say 'we have this many active faults here in Croatia'. You can say that in other parts of the world - everyone has heard of the San Andreas fault in California, it is a huge surface expression. Here in Croatia, the fault lines are smaller. The interaction is not so vigorous as in California, which is where the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate meet.

Croatia Earthquakes: Where do they happen?

Rather than active faults or fault lines, it is more accurate in Croatia to speak of active fault areas. We know which areas are tectonically active - where you may experience Croatia earthquakes. Those areas are southern Dalmatia, the Rijeka region, the Zagreb region and the Petrinja / Sisak region.

RTL_Television_depicted.jpgHow Croatia's RTL Television depicted Croatia's fault lines - or fault areas - in their graphic © screenshot

In Dubrovnik, you had one of the most major Croatia earthquakes of the last millennium during the 17th century. It was considerably larger than the one we just had in Petrinja. The whole city was devastated. Extensive damage. Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia is the area that is most prone to larger Croatia earthquakes. I have just received a grant from the Croatian Science Foundation to explore just this. We are due to start in just a couple of months.

Dubrovnik_from_before_the_major_earthquake.jpgA painting of Dubrovnik from before the major earthquake of the 17th century © Public domain

From what we know, the areas of the country which experience the least seismic activity are Istria and some parts of Slavonia and Baranja. Other parts of Slavonia do have some seismic activity - there were famously earthquakes in the Dakovo area in 1884 and in a wider area of Slavonia in 1964. But these were only moderately strong. From what we know, Istria, Slavonia and Baranja are definitely the safest places where you will not experience a large earthquake. In Istria, you do not see any seismic activity at all. This is because Istria is the only part of Croatia which is on the Adriatic plate. All of the rest of Croatia is on the European plate.

Croatia_location_map.pngCroatia: the areas within red circles are presumed - for now - to be at extremely low risk of a major earthquake © NordNordWest, adapted

Each mountain you see in Croatia is essentially a fault area. That's where the ground somehow had to rise. It is only a question of when that fault line was active. It might have been millions of years ago and the mountain is merely evidence that this once happened, like with older mountain ranges such as the Appalachians in America or the Scandinavian mountains in Sweden and Norway. Or, it might still be happening, in younger mountains like the Alps, the Dinaric Alps and the Himalayas - the earth is active there, there is a collision, the mountains might still be growing. This is where geologists come into the picture. We look at the rocks and we can say when that interaction happened and if it is still happening.

The_Dinaric_Alps.jpgThe Dinaric Alps - a relatively young mountain range. They run down the entire length of the Croatian coast © Pavle Cikovac

It has been said that the fault lines on which the Zagreb earthquake of March occurred and the fault lines on which the Petrinja earthquake occurred are separate. Is it, therefore, correct to say that the Zagreb earthquake of March is unconnected to the Petrinja earthquake?

Basically, we would say yes. They are unconnected. The forces on the tectonic plate are acting on a large scale. The expression of these tectonic forces is different in different regions. From our measurements, we know that these fault systems - Zagreb and Petrinja - are not directly connected. They may be connected in some way, which is not straightforward to explain and not so immediate, but it is not like they are the same crack in the earth. They do not interact directly. The movement on one fault line cannot produce earthquakes on the other.

Petrinja__Croatian_Geological.jpgTop: the fault areas of Croatia. Bottom: The fault area around Petrinja © Croatian Geological Institute

There was an earthquake in Banja Luka. Is that earthquake connected to the one near Petrinja?

They had an earthquake there, yes and an even more devastating one in 1969. That activity does take place in the same fault area as the Petrinja earthquake, yes. But, the connection between the two is still not established. We can only speculate that the stresses and strains on one part of the area can produce earthquakes in another. It is possible that we may have a better answer to this once we have completed all the research we are currently doing. We may be able to say, yes, what happens in Banja Luka directly affects what happens here, or vice versa. You can already do this in other fault areas, such as the one which runs from Istanbul all the way to the east of Turkey.

1969_earthquake_in_Banja_Luka.jpgAftermath of the 1969 earthquake in Banja Luka © Public domain

Croatia Earthquakes: When do they happen?

We can only say what we know from the past and use some measurements that are available to us to guess the probability of Croatia earthquakes happening within a certain period of time. If you hear someone say “Yeah, I know when the earthquake is going to happen”, that’s the time you need to stop listening to that person. They obviously don't know what they are saying. No scientist would say that. What we know for sure is that we don’t know that. A broad estimate, using the data we have from history, is that the probability of a stronger earthquake happening here, something the magnitude of 6.5, is roughly 10% every 50 years. This means that such an earthquake does happen here, but only around once in every 500 years when using a scale of thousands of years.

movement_direction_of_the_earth_in_the_Petrinja.jpgThe fault area and movement direction of the earth in the Petrinja area © Croatian Geological Institute

The second earthquake in Petrinja was a large earthquake. The one the day before, and the Zagreb earthquake in March, were moderately large. Yes, it is unusual that we have experienced these three incidents in just one year, but it is certainly not unheard of. It is possible, like I say, that there is some connection that we don't yet know about between these fault lines. It's an area where research is ongoing and that requires more.

We have experienced three earthquakes in one year. Taking into account that the broad statistics say large earthquakes are predicted to happen within a certain frequency, are we now at a greater risk of another large earthquake happening or can we say that we are at a lesser risk because we have these three already behind us?

It is a difficult, difficult question. The stress was locked in a fault. Once that stress is released, you are much safer. But, if the stress is released in one fault, it may be that it increases the stress on another fault. So, it's hard to say. But, from what we currently know, we should now be safe. But (laughs), nobody can say with absolute certainty that there won't be another earthquake in this area for, say, another 10 years. The reassurance people needed by people who live in a seismically active region comes not from being told “don't be afraid of earthquakes, one will not come” but from constructing buildings that can cope with the earthquakes. But, I am a geologist, not a builder, so I cannot talk about that aspect.

This article was originally published on 8 January 2021

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Official: Croatian Red Cross Has Collected €4.8m in Donations for Quake Victims

ZAGREB, 2 January, 2021 - The Croatian Red Cross executive president said on Friday that this charity had to date collected HRK 36 million in donations for people who were left without their home in the 29 December devastating quake which struck the towns of Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and other parts of Sisak-Moslavina County.

We continue receiving donations, the executive president Robert Markt told the Nova TV commercial broadcaster on Friday evening.

Asked why some people whose houses were damaged had not yet received containers or mobile homes to sleep in, Markt explained that the quake-hit area covered over 1,000 square kilometres and 305 settlements and this dispersion of settlements could be a reason.

He said that currently, there was no need for new volunteers but in the coming days they would need fresh force.

"This is the operation that will last long and I would like all interested to apply in a few days, we will include them in the operation."

"We all can be proud of our Civil Protection services, and our system of Homeland Protection," said Markt in his comment on what has been done in the first 72 hours since the devastating quake.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Croatia-Shaped Cloud Appeared in the Sky Above Sisak After Quake

January 2, 2021 – Shortly after the terrible earthquake that hit the area of Sisak-Moslavina County, the sky above Sisak sent a symbolic message – a beautiful cloud that looks like Croatia on the map appeared above the city!

In the moments of the terrible earthquake that hit Sisak, Petrinja, and surrounding places on Tuesday, which damaged over 2000 houses, an unusual cloud appeared in the sky above Sisak. Few people managed even to notice it, but one child realized – the cloud is in the shape of Croatia on the map. His sister hurriedly captured the moment – she took a photo of the symbolic cloud, which was later shared across social media.

Their mother, Antonija Kmetović, first posted the photo on her Facebook profile. She explained to Jutarnji list how they survived the earthquake and how the significant photo was created.

"We were in the apartment during the earthquake. Everything was breaking, moving, shaking, thundering. The four of us were falling over. We clung to the door frame and begged it to stop. It seemed like an eternity. When it stopped, collapsed closets clogged our hallway. We barely got out, barefoot, hugging, and crying. I left my mobile phone to my children and ran to the apartment to get jackets and shoes. They were standing in front of the building with their neighbors while my husband was removing the closets so that we could walk through the buried hallway," Antonija describes the horror moments they survived in the quake.

"My son saw strange clouds. He is studying geography, so he is interested in maps and longitudes and latitudes. So my daughter immediately photographed the sky. There is no filter or editing. Pure gratitude that we are alive and that we managed to escape outside, that it stopped shaking," says Antonija.

Shortly after the earthquake, she posted a beautiful photo of a cloud in the shape of Croatia on her Facebook profile with the description "God, save Croatia." Their apartment cracked after the devastating earthquake, but she and her family are okay. They are happy that nothing happened to them.

"The apartment cracked, but I think we were fortunate that the building was well built, even though it is over 60 years old. When I see what happened to others, this is happiness to heaven," concludes Antonija.

For more on the Petrinja earthquake, follow our dedicated section.

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