Monday, 13 April 2020

IIC Croatia Calls for High Standards in Post-Earthquake Reconstruction of Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 13, 2020 - The Croatian branch of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) has joined the initiative for high standards in overcoming the consequences of the March 22 earthquake that struck Zagreb and its environs.

Concerned about daily news about incompetence in handling the heritage damaged in the earthquake, the national branch of the IIC has joined the initiative launched by architects and art historians to establish a coordinating body for the post-earthquake restoration of Zagreb, the Vice President of IIC Croatia, Ksenija Škarić, announced last week.

Škarić noted that the bill on the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb had been criticised by many specialists, primarily due to the lack of consultation with relevant professions.

The IIC Croatia group also pointed out the "scandalous photographs of architectural decorations dumped at Zagreb's landfills", emphasising the importance of their recovery, or at least of their documentation.

They think that fragments of architectural decoration, as well as other objects of historic value, should be stored in depots, if only in makeshift ones. They also underscored the urgency of implementing measures to preserve buildings and objects of cultural importance from secondary damage, and setting up a dedicated restoration and conservation database.

The database would include international contacts (experts and institutions), foreign examples (plans and programmes for restoration and reconstruction, legislative frameworks, guidelines for the reconstruction of areas and individual buildings), domestic examples (plans and programmes for restoration and reconstruction, guidelines for the reconstruction of areas and individual buildings), and archival data on Zagreb (studies, articles, research projects and books).

More news about the earthquake can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Bill on Post-Quake Reconstruction of Zagreb Will Be Complex

ZAGREB, April 13, 2020 - The bill on the reconstruction of Zagreb after the March 22 earthquake will be complex because buildings in the centre of the capital are more than 100 years old, and specialists in all relevant areas are involved, Construction Minister Predrag Štromar said in a Croatian television current affairs programme on Monday morning.

"We must not and will not leave our citizens alone and that is most important," Štromar said, adding that the bill would be fast-tracked through Parliament.

He said that the Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers, the Croatian Chamber of Architects, the University of Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering, as well as machine and electrical engineers, were involved in the preparation of the bill.

Asked about the time frame of the reconstruction process, Štromar said that a lot of residential and public buildings and historical landmarks had been damaged and that it would take a lot of time to repair them. He said that healthcare and educational institutions and residential buildings were a priority.

Asked about sources of funding, the minister said that these were being discussed and that first it was necessary to determine how much the reconstruction would cost. He said he counted on funding from the state budget, the City of Zagreb budget, the County of Zagreb budget, the World Bank, EU funds, donations and friendly countries.

"How the money will be spent is for the bill to define. Transparency is of paramount importance," Štromar said.

He said that intense work was under way to clear all the rubble, expressing hope that this task would be completed soon. In this context he praised the fire service for a job well done.

More news about the earthquake can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Public Buildings Need to Be Rebuilt to Full Seismic Resistance

ZAGREB, April 7, 2020 - The dean of Zagreb's Civil Engineering Faculty, Stjepan Lakušić, on Tuesday said that all public buildings that were damaged in the recent earthquake in Zagreb need to be reconstructed to the level of complete seismic resistance.

Lakušić made the statement after a meeting of a task force working on a bill for the reconstruction of Zagreb and its environs which was formed by the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning and which includes experts in the field and Minister Predrag Štromar.

Lakušić said that all public buildings like hospitals, schools and faculties have to be reconstructed to full seismic resistance standards.

Asked by reporters whether it was possible to install modern anti-earthquake systems in old buildings and how much more expensive that would be, Lakušić said that that is the ministry's and the government's main issue.

He underscored that in cooperation with other scientific institutions, the faculty is preparing guidelines on how to approach the reinforcement of buildings as well as calculate whether to reinforce a building or to apply other measures considering the price and cost-effectiveness.

"When selecting technology to reconstruct a building, cost is very important, as is whether it is possible at all to approach that type of reconstruction in some buildings and guarantee safety or whether other measures need to be taken with regard to reinforcement which could potentially require a lot more time to resolve the situation," said Lakušić. He added that the problem of the stability of buildings needs to be resolved so that people who live in them are protected and safe in case of a similar earthquake.

He highlighted the importance of preserving the urban appearance of Zagreb, noting that urban reconstruction has to be controlled by professionals.

More earthquake news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Zagreb Mayor Does Not Blame Citizens for Earthquake

ZAGREB, April 6, 2020 - Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić said on Monday that he had never accused Zagreb residents of the March 22 earthquake but that citizens, the city and the state were responsible for the damage caused by the quake to their property as they had not invested in it.

Addressing a news conference, Bandić accused reporters of misquoting his statement that "citizens are to blame for the earthquake", saying that nobody was to blame for it but that the failure to invest in one's own property was to blame on both the state and the city as well as its residents.

Responding to a reporter's remark that his previous statement was "a slap in the face for Zagreb residents", Bandić asked the reporter why she was nervous, accusing her of interrupting him and noting that she could not be helped.

Asked why he had decided to hold daily news conferences only two weeks after the earthquake and a month a half since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Bandić said that "things had to be organised."

Bandić said that the city budget would be revised in two weeks' time.

"Today you will have a decision on provisional financing, with priorities. This is not only the city's problem but a national problem. Only together can we cope with it," said the mayor, adding that a law should be passed to regulate the process of reconstruction in Zagreb and that the most severe cases, people who cannot return to their homes, would have priority.

He said that everyone would pay for the reconstruction of their own property - the city for its own, the state for its own and the city and state together for citizens' property that is treated as a priority.

Bandić said that the city would make apartments it owns available to everyone left without a roof over their heads and that in the autumn the construction of 300 flats would begin in the neighbourhood of Podbrežje.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Milanović Thanks Structural Engineers Who Volunteered After Earthquake

ZAGREB, April 3, 2020 - Croatian President Zoran Milanović on Friday met with representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers and representatives of structural engineers, many of whom volunteered to help after the recent earthquake in Zagreb, and expressed his thanks for their unselfish work and effort.

"Repairing earthquake damage is work that has to be carried out primarily by the government, that is the state. It is important that Zagreb be reconstructed in a quality manner, according to recommendations by professionals, and that we as a state learn from this natural disaster and pass legislation that will minimise damage in the event of a similar natural disaster," President Milanović said.

Representatives of the Chamber and structural engineers presented their comments on the law on damage repair to President Milanovic, underscoring that the legislature should listen more to opinions and recommendations of professionals.

They also called for the establishment of an expert response team at the state level, which could quickly and effectively respond and co-ordinate in case of natural disasters because, as they underscored, emergency care following an earthquake cannot be based on volunteering and enthusiasm of citizens, a press release from the Office of the President said.

More news about the earthquake can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

American Croats Start Fund Raiser for Damaged Hospitals in Zagreb

ZAGREB, April 1, 2020 - The Association of Croatian-American Professionals (ACAP) has launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for hospitals damaged in the 22 March earthquake in Zagreb.

The entire proceeds collected will be donated to the Petrova Women's Hospital, Rebro University Hospital and other hospitals in the capital.

Our aim is to collect USD 200,000 in the next two to three weeks because we know funds are needed now to reconstruct after the quake-damaged buildings and to provide support to hospitals battling with coronavirus. We will try and do what we can, a member of ACAP's executive board, Maria Sentić told Hina.

ACAP launched the campaign in coordination with its Zagreb branch managed by a Croatian-Australian ex-pat, attorney Don Markušić, who is also the vice president of Transparency International Croatia.

"We are in contact with Zagreb hospitals and the Health Ministry. Even though the campaign originally focused on Petrova and Rebro hospitals, we are prepared to help other hospitals," Sentić added.

Members to the Association of Croatian American Professionals represent all facets of the international professional community, including scientists, doctors, engineers, attorneys, artists, journalists, business executives, accountants, and so on.

"We are organised through 15 local branches and have more than 1,000 members. Our mission is to promote networking among members and the promotion of advancement in matters related to the Croatian community in the USA. Our objective is the prosperity of a global Croatia. We are a member-driven non-profit organization and we are all volunteers," Sentić underlined.

More diaspora news can be found in the dedicated section.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

No Surge in Coronavirus Cases After Zagreb Earthquake

ZAGREB, March 31, 2020 - Croatia's COVID-19 crisis management team said on Tuesday that there was no surge in the number of coronavirus cases that could be connected with the aftermath of the 22 March strong quake that hit Zagreb and its surroundings, claiming one life and causing extensive damage.

The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ), Krunoslav Capak, told a news conference that first analyses did not show a higher number of new infections due to the developments in Zagreb on 22 March when larger groups of shocked people fled their buildings to be outside.

Broken down by age, of the total of 867 Croatians diagnosed with COVID-19, as many as 187 are aged between 50 and 59. They are followed by those aged between 40 and 49 (165).

In Croatia, 41 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are under the age of 20, and 100 are above the age of 70, Capak said.

He informed the news conference that 50 doctors, 10 dentists, 41 nurses, five pharmacists and seven hospital administration staff were among the positive cases.

Also 1,200 employees in the healthcare system are in self-isolation.

More news about the earthquake can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Part of Zagreb Cathedral Spire May Require Destruction After Damage

According to initial estimates, the recent Zagreb earthquake also caused damage to the north spire of the iconic Zagreb cathedral (tower).

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 29th of March, 2020, the extent to which the Zagreb cathedral was actually damaged during the earthquake that struck the capital seven days ago is still very much unknown, according to a report from Jutarnji list on Sunday.

Numerous statists and architects, who have worked so far to renovate the Zagreb cathedral, are still working on completely determining the state of its post-earthquake condition. According to some unofficial information, the situation with the southern spire, from which the cross fell, is far from ideal, and whether or not part of that structure will have to be removed entirely due to damage should be made clear very soon.

According to architect Damir Foretic, who spoke to Jutarnji list and who has been working on the reconstruction of the Zagreb cathedral since back in 1990, all of the damage caused by the earthquake is currently being checked over.

"We'll probably have a final report by Tuesday that we'll then send to the Cathedral Restoration Committee. Only then will we inform the media,'' Foretic said

When asked if the cathedral was badly damaged, he said that he wasn't in a position to say that yet. "But just look at the condition of the surrounding buildings," Foretic replied.

According to the aforementioned publication, experts still managed to climb up to the place where it was easiest to assess the damage, and according to initial estimates, the damage was to the north tower.

Initial observations showed a displacement of almost five centimetres. Because of all this, experts warn that places around the Zagreb cathedral should be avoided by people. The stained glass windows have also been significantly damaged and now need to be removed in order not to increase the damage, Jutarnji list reports.

Make sure to follow Total Zagreb and Zagreb in a Page for all you need to know about the bustling Croatian capital.

Friday, 27 March 2020

ICOM Calls on Governments and Institutions to Help Croatian Museums

ZAGREB, March 27, 2020 - The International Council of Museums has called on governments and institutions to help museums in Zagreb that have been damaged in the strongest earthquake that has hit the Croatian capital in the last 140 years.

Expressing its sympathy with all Croatians affected by the disaster, ICOM posted photographs of damaged museums, noting that the situation is additionally aggravated by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Most of the museums in the city centre have suffered damage during the earthquake and some of them are no longer statically safe, ICOM said, adding that both buildings and artworks were damaged.

"ICOM is working with its Croatian National Committee and the Regional Alliance of South East Europe to support Croatian colleagues in their efforts to assess the damage to local museums and to find the best way to support them in their reconstruction and repair efforts," it said.

"Taking into account the current sanitary situation at national and international levels, ICOM urges municipalities, the Croatian ministry of culture and international organizations to come together to help the Croatian population and museum professionals, gathering human, financial and technical resources to support them in this difficult moment," ICOM said.

More museum news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

U.S. Ambassador Donates His March Salary for Earthquake Relief

ZAGREB, March 25, 2020 - U.S. Ambassador in Zagreb Robert Kohorst on Wednesday said on his Twitter profile that he would follow the Prime Minister's example and donate his March salary for Zagreb's earthquake relief.

"Given the challenge Croatia is facing, I will follow PM Andrej Plenković and the Croatian Government and donate my March salary to help those affected by COVID-19 and the Zagreb Earthquake," Kohorst tweeted.

"This is the least we can do, considering how Croatia welcomed us to your country," Kohorst underlined and added #WeStandTogether.

Two strong quakes struck Zagreb on Sunday morning, the first measures 5.5 on Richter scale and the second was 5.0. They were followed by several tremors. A 15-year-old girl was killed in the quake.

Prime Minister Plenković on Tuesday said that he and his government would donate their March salaries for earthquake relief. Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said he would donate his salary too and called on lawmakers to do the same.

More news about the earthquake can be found in the Lifestyle section.

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