Tuesday, 29 December 2020

PHOTOS: Another Powerful Zagreb Earthquake hits Croatian Capital

December 29, 2020 – Just after midday on 29th December 2020, yet another powerful Zagreb earthquake has shaken the buildings and streets of the Croatian capital

Just 24 hours after a second large earthquake shook the Croatian capital in 2020, yet another large Zagreb earthquake has visited city residents. The large tremor took place just after midday and sent the city's citizens into the streets, fleeing shaking buildings from which masonry fell. Dust filled the air outside. Everyone is thankful for having their COVID masks. The situation at the epicentre of the earthquake, just over 40 kilometres from Zagreb, is much worse.

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit the capital yesterday, its epicentre located in Petrinje. The Zagreb earthquake of 29 December 2020 was even bigger - it measured 6.3 - its epicentre also in the area of Petrinja and Glina in Sisak Moslavina County. This means that the three largest Zagreb earthquakes to have taken place over the last 100 years have happened in 2020.

_MG_8358.jpgCity residents ran out onto the streets after this earthquake

This Petrinja/Zagreb earthquake took place 44 - 46 kilometres southeast of Zagreb. Hundreds of smaller aftershocks were felt over the 24 hours in the Petrinje area. The Petrinja/Zagreb earthquake of 29 December 2020 didn't feel like any of the hundreds of aftershocks that have visited Croatia since the large earthquake in the start of the year - this was much more like the first. Damage to Zagreb from the first major earthquake of 2020 is estimated to have already cost the city in excess of 11 billion Euros. That first major tremor occurred early in the morning, while people were still in bed - the Coronavirus lockdown meant everyone was inside their homes

_MG_8354.jpgOffice workers and people going about their daily lives ran out onto Heizelova to escape the shaking buildings and the dust that filled the air

At the time of publishing, no details had yet reached TCN in regards to casualties from the earthquake of 29 December. No casualties were recorded from the previous day's earthquake. EDIT: Less than an hour after the earthquake, it was reported that sadly a child died in the Petrinja area as a result of the earthquake. Later in the day, a further five fatalities were sadly confirmed.


This is a developing news story and Total Croatia News will be updating its coverage as more information reaches us

Screenshot (91).png

Friday, 11 December 2020

Zagreb Hospital Wins Medical Oscar for Care of Premature Babies During Earthquake

ZAGREB, Dec 11, 2020 - Zagreb's University Hospital Centre (KBC) has been awarded the Ocar of Medicine for its outstanding achievement in medicine and outstanding efforts by medical staff at the Women's Hospital in taking care of patients, particularly premature babies during a strong earthquake in Zagreb in March.

With their selfless efforts medical staff and volunteers managed to transfer premature babies in incubators and their mothers to safety, it was said during the presentation ceremony.

The medical staff at the hospital were honoured for their expertise, organisation skills and huge solidarity shown.

International Medis Awards, better known as the Oscar of Medicine, have been given for seven years to the best doctors and pharmaceutical researchers for their work and achievements.

The KBC Zagreb also received a donation from the Medis pharmaceutical company, namely a device for UV-C decontamination of surfaces, which came just in time during the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of the neonatal ward in the Petrova Women's Hospital, Mirta Starcevic, recalled that there were 26 premature babies in the hospital when the earthquake struck on March 22, eight of them weighing less than 1.5 kilograms.

"That night a premature baby weighing 1,500 grams was born with numerous complications. When the earthquake struck we had to evacuate the building and the biggest problem was how to maintain the children's body temperature. All the doctors who were not on duty that day immediately came to the hospital. I have to say that the situation resembled a proper war zone. The thing that we are most proud of and pleased with is that we did not lose any of the babies in those circumstances, which is absolutely unbelievable," nurse Starcevic said.

The International Media Awards are annual awards presented for the best research by doctors and pharmacists in nine countries: Croatia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Hungary, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Google Search Croatia: What Did Croatia Google Search Most in 2020?

December 9, 2020 – It's been a funny old year. Funny as in unusual. Not so much funny haha. The extraordinary nature of the year is reflected in the most-popular Croatia Google search list for 2020, which has just been published. This year's searches hold a stark contrast to last year's.

In 2019, the end-of-year list for Croatia Google search was dominated by results for sporting fixtures, celebrities and entertainment. Although the EU election results and the long-running teacher's strike in Croatia also scored highly in 2019, this year has been dominated by searches of an even more serious and pressing nature.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the number one Croatia Google search for 2020 was Coronavirus. The global pandemic is likely to top lists all over the world. In this country, its ramifications also created several other high-ranking inclusions on the Croatia Google search list 2020.

Software Google Classroom and Office 365 za škole also feature in the top 10 Croatia Google search list 2020, as parents and students coped with the closure of teaching institutions and prepared to learn and receive lectures online. Another piece of online tech that features in the top 10 was ePropusnica, the travel pass required for inter-regional travel and international travel by car during the various stages of lockdown. If these results are anything to go by, Coronavirus has dominated the lives of Croatians in 2020.

Another big Croatia Google search term in 2020 was Zagreb earthquake. For anyone in Zagreb at the time of the first large tremor, this will also come as little surprise – it was the biggest earthquake experienced for 100 years in Croatia, and it came without warning. Though lasting just a few seconds, there was no reaction more immediate than that of city residents, who ran out into the streets partially clothed. Thousands must have searched the term to find out what was happening, and also after many of the hundreds of aftershocks that have followed.

Here's the list of biggest Croatia Google search terms in 2020

The most-popular Croatia Google search terms in 2020

1. Koronavirus
2. Google Classroom
3. Office 365 za škole
4. Potres Zagreb (Earthquake Zagreb)
5. Kobe Bryant
6. ePropusnica
7. Izbori SAD (US elections)
8. DIP
9. Joe Biden
10. Masoni (Masons)

The most-popular Croatia Google search apps in 2020

1. ePropusnice
2. Zoom
3. Andrija

The most-popular Croatia Google search events in 2020

1. Potres (Earthquake)
2. Izbori SAD (US elections)
3. Izbori (elections) 

Aside from the inclusion of the Masons (freemasons), the list is understandable on an international level. It perhaps tells us something about how Croatians use the search engine and how well they respect it as a source for delivering credible information. With Coronavirus vaccines now announced and, all hope, the biggest potential earthquake out of the way, for now, it's understandable for most Croatians to be looking forward to the return of more trivial matters dominating their Google searches in 2021.

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Meet Zagreb Volunteers, the Heart and Soul of the City

October 29, 2020 - TCN joins Zagreb Volunteers Centre in Čučerje to find out who are the Zagreb volunteers and why they do what they do. Čučerje is a semi-rural community which lies at the epicentre of the March 2020 earthquake.

By the time we ran out of the building, the first tremor had stopped. At 6:25am, the asphalt road lay quiet and motionless. People in pyjamas, nightgowns or underwear stood on the pavement. Others emerged even later. Although masonry in other parts of the city continued to fall, the 5.5 magnitude earthquake that visited Zagreb on 22 March 2020 was over. It had lasted much less than a minute. Its repercussions would last much longer.

1442px-Oštećena_zgrada_Đorđićeva.jpgDamage to a Zagreb city-centre building in the 2020 earthquake © Franjo Tahy

The tragic news of a fatality filtered through the media several hours later, as did pictures of the devastation visited upon the Croatian capital's buildings. Some of its oldest were hit particularly hard. However, most modern constructions had emerged largely unscathed. Acknowledging the area's seismic capabilities, everything built after the 1963 earthquake of Skopje in neighbouring Macedonia had been constructed to withstand such force.

Offers of help soon began to arrive from overseas. Despite international struggles related to Coronavirus, many still had sympathy upon hearing of the Zagreb earthquake. This outside sympathy and the media that prompted it were rarely directed to the semi-rural communities which experienced the earthquake's fiercest force.

_MG_7323.jpegThe front of the town church in Čučerje, surrounded by scaffolding seven months after the earthquake

The small town of Čučerje is just short of 11 kilometres to the north-east of Zagreb city centre. In late October, the town looks impossibly pretty – houses perched in the foothills of Mount Medvednica, surrounded by greenery and trees exploding in a myriad of autumn shades. But, behind the colourful exterior lies a hidden suffering.

_MG_7314.jpegThe spire of Čučerje's church is scarred on all sides by long-veined cracks

Čučerje lies just 500 metres from the epicentre of the earthquake. Scaffolding bolsters the town church, its spire scarred on all sides by long-veined cracks. Back from the main road, down simple, country lanes, sit houses much older than those standng proud above the centre. Here, life still exists in a way similar to that of the original residents of such dwellings. Elderly neighbours are preparing to heat their homes by wood-fired burners, chasing away the chill seeping in through the cracks the earthquake has left. As winter approaches, such hardships are not always reported as loudly as those faced by the damaged cultural institutions holding priceless collections in the capital. But, the struggle does not go unnoticed by Zagreb Volunteers Centre (VCZ).

_MG_7306.jpegČučerje residents and members of Zagreb Volunteers Centre meet in the community centre to plan the day's action

Established in 1998, Zagreb Volunteers Centre acts as a conduit between charities, communities and non-profit organisations who need support and those willing to donate their time to good causes. Since it was formed, over 18, 000 people have submitted their names to the centre as potential Zagreb volunteers who may be called upon. The centre has helped over 700 organisations find Zagreb volunteers.

“Before 1996, there was a set-up that facilitated international volunteering - it helped connect Croatians with international actions that were looking for help,” says 28-year-old Dunja Hafner, who works for Zagreb Volunteers Centre. “But, it was noticed that some people couldn't commit to an overseas trip and that others simply just preferred only to volunteer locally. The logical step was to move into facilitating that.”

_MG_7338.jpegZagreb volunteers gather in the early morning mist

“Since we started, the numbers of Zagreb volunteers in our database has grown steadily. But, over more recent times, volunteering does seem to have become a more popular thing to do. And, many people have put their names forward for volunteering since the advent of the earthquake. In the immediate aftermath, there were so many people volunteering that we had to just direct people to the specific groups who were appealing for help. We even had to turn down some Zagreb volunteers who offered their time. That had never previously happened in the history of the organisation. Now, we are managing better and we help co-ordinate some of the actions ourselves.”

“Before the earthquake, the main volunteering areas to which we would send people were actions for children, the elderly, events like culture, sports and music festivals, animals, ecology projects and nature conservation.”

_MG_7399.jpegMy name is Dražen Blažević (centre), I was born in Croatia. My mother and grandparents are all from Zagreb. This is the city where I live. At the moment, I don't have regular employment, so I can afford to give my time to an action like this. While I'm looking for a full-time job, I make ends meet by doing food deliveries on my bicycle. Why am I here today? Honestly, it was only two weeks ago that I just had this feeling that I should give my time to help people. In one minute I decided I would volunteer. Before this, the kind of help I would give was only to my neighbours, the elderly relatives of friends. People like that. As an official volunteer, this is my first time. Maybe this sounds a little selfish, but I thought it would make me feel good.


_MG_7368.jpegMy name is Alexandra and I am from Čučerje. I live here with my family. Right now, I am without a full-time job, so I take on some other daily obligations – I accompany kids to kindergarten and school, and I help out in our local church. I look after their social media pages for them. I also play the organ in the church. It was a very simple decision for me to join in with today's action – I live here. I walk past the devastation left by the earthquake every day. This town has experienced lots of problems because of the damage. For me, giving my time today is a way of showing the love I have for my town and the people who live here. Well, something like that.


_MG_7516.jpegMy name is Borut Babanić (right) and I'm from Zagreb. I work as a project manager. I wanted to volunteer so I could help people. The residents of Čučerje are some of the worst affected by the earthquake and so that's why I want to come here specifically. I wanted them to not feel that they are alone. This is the first time I joined an action via the Zagreb Volunteer Centre.

My name is Antonio Frinčić (left). I'm from Zagreb. I work for the Croatian Foundation For Children. It's an organisation that assists in looking after children and families who have small incomes or limited means. It's a state-funded organisation. My position there is a paid one. This is not the first voluntary work I've undertaken, but it is the first time I have volunteered through the Zagreb Volunteer Centre. My answer is the same as Borut's – I came here because I wanted to help these people.

Borut and Antonio are pictured side-by-side because they spent most of the day working together. When they arrived in the morning, they were strangers. They left as friends.

_MG_7371.jpegMy name is Marina Krolo and I'm originally from Split. I studied in Zagreb, finished university here and then stayed. My regular role in society is that I'm a tour guide and tour leader. That pretty much means that this is my year off, ha! There's not much work for a tour guide in 2020, so I'm trying to put my free time to good use. This is the first time I've volunteered through Zagreb Volunteer Centre.


_MG_7357.jpegMy name is Vincent Matijaca. I was born in Split. I'm based in Zagreb now. We opened a company BioCro LTD in the United Kingdom a few months ago. What we're trying to do is assist small producers and OPGs from this region to place their products internationally, including the UK and other countries in Europe. Why am I here today? Well, we believe that you can't start promoting sustainability and help solely from the office, we believe our project to be more hands-on. By doing that we hope to be able to show what we're about, and to set an example that perhaps others will follow. We've previously joined actions through other Croatian volunteer organisations and others internationally, but this is the first time we've done so through Zagreb Volunteer Centre.

_MG_7512.jpegLocal people from Čučerje and the surroundings had prepared food to make sure the volunteers didn't go hungry. This dish was made and donated by a local hairdresser. It is a local speciality called tenka gibanica. It was delicious.

_MG_7393.jpegMy name is Tomislav Vlajčić and I'm from Zagreb. At the moment, my regular time is spent studying economy and training football. I'm the team leader of a faculty-related group Tourism Lab that's interested in that area of our economy. This is my first time volunteering. I decided to come because it's a good opportunity to help people who are in need and I'm really glad I came. The experience was really worth it and meeting new people, seeing a slightly different culture is priceless. I would recommend it to anyone because it all starts with us.


For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages.

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Friday, 9 October 2020

Croatia to Get €683.7 m to Remove Consequences of Zagreb Earthquake

ZAGREB, October 9, 2020 - The European Commission on Friday proposed that Croatia be allocated aid in the amount of €683.7 million from the European Solidarity Fund to remove the consequences of a strong earthquake that hit Zagreb on March 22.

The first tranche, in the amount of €88.9, was disbursed in August in the form of an advance payment. The EC's proposal is yet to be approved by the Council and the European Parliament and the funds will be available right after that.

The aid for Croatia is part of a broader package worth €823 million which the EC proposed on Friday. The rest of the package is intended for removing the consequences of floods in Poland (€7 million) and advance payments in the amount of €132.7 million as assistance in coping with the health crisis caused by the coronavirus in Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Portugal.

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.”


For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

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.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

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.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

PM: Aim is for Zagreb Reconstruction Law to be Good, Sustainable

ZAGREB, Sept 9, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday the aim of Zagreb Reconstruction Law on the post-earthquake reconstruction of the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb counties was quality and sustainable law which would ensure long term restoration.

He was speaking at a cabinet meeting which adopted a conclusion giving a government representative consent to accept about 30 amendments to the final bill submitted by others.

The government's approach is inclusive and consensual, so we decided to accept any amendments and many of them were identical, Plenkovic said, adding that the relevant ministries analyzed the proposals thoroughly, consulting experts.

The amendments will be debated by parliament on Thursday.

Horvat: We followed experts' proposals

A total of 183 amendments were submitted to the final bill. Presenting the government's conclusion, Construction Minister Darko Horvat said the government's analysis was based on experts' proposals.

We are willing to fully accept some 30 amendments and three parts, he told reporters.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Friday, 28 August 2020

We Can! MPs Say Bill on Post-Quake Reconstruction Leaves a Lot to Be Elaborated

ZAGREB, August 28, 2020 - Parliamentary deputies of the We Can! political platform have warned that the final bill on the post-earthquke reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs leaves a lot to be elaborated and that they will continue insisting on the establishment of an institute for reconstruction rather than a fund.

MP Tomislav Tomasevic said that his platform would submit a larger number of amendments to improve the bill.

He said the platform was satisfied with the social criteria and financial framework of the bill but was not happy with the institutional framework, which, he said, had stayed more or less the same in relation to the first version of the bill.

"The government still insists on a fund for the reconstruction of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb counties instead of an institute for the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs, which is what we have requested," said Tomasevic.

The We Can! platform wants the institute to be a coordinating body rather than "a kind of supporting administrative-financial body, which is what the fund will be under the bill."

Tomasevic also pointed to the importance of having a single institution in charge of the reconstruction process to prevent conflict of jurisdiction.

MP Sandra Bencic said that the government had not fully accepted their amendment seeking the establishment of an independent body in charge of overseeing how funds for reconstruction are spent.

She expressed concern about how citizens who have already started repair works on their properties will be financially assisted because the bill does not specify the amount of aid they are entitled to.

Bencic also called for regulating the issue of the market price of reconstruction work, saying that the price of some types of repair work was up to 400% higher than the ususual price.

The bill does not define precisely the issue of substitute housing, she noted.

MP Damir Bakic warned that the bill failed to mention that reconstruction work on public-purpose buildings would be entirely financed by their owners, i.e. founders.

It would be unfair and contrary to the intention of the law for reconstruction work on public-purpose buildings that are privately owned to be financed exclusively by their owners, he said.


For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Page 3 of 8