Sunday, 17 January 2021

Horvat: State Will Fully Finance Post-Quake Reconstruction in Assisted Areas

ZAGREB, 17 January, 2021 - The state will fully finance the reconstruction or construction of buildings in assisted areas affected by the earthquake, Construction Minister Darko Horvat said on Sunday, adding that whether citizens would cover 20% of the costs would depend on their income threshold.

Horvat told the press a bill on post-quake reconstruction said that Sisak-Moslavina County would co-finance 20% of those costs. If the county will not be able to pay that amount, the state will do so, he added.

As for buildings and houses that have been demolished and will not be reconstructed, the state will fully finance the construction of new ones, he said.

On Thursday, the government sent to parliament a bill of amendments to the law on the reconstruction of buildings in the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje and Zagreb counties damaged in a March 2020 earthquake, proposing that the law also apply to Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties, which were struck by a devastating quake in December.

Under the bill, those counties will set aside 20% in their budgets for reconstruction, as will property owners. In assisted areas where a state of disaster was declared, the entire cost will be covered by the state, in line with a special regulation.

A property owner is exempt from covering 20% of the reconstruction costs if their household income in the previous and the current year does not exceed the non-taxable income amount, if they had no other assets on 22 March 2020 whose value exceeded HRK 200,000, and if they receive welfare benefits.

Horvat said the bill was clear and that it included the income threshold, so pensioners and people out of work need not fear.

He said that in assisted areas where a state of disaster was declared, the government would fully cover the construction of new homes.

Everything in the bill also applies to the City of Sisak, Horvat said, commenting on Mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček's statement yesterday that "Sisak will be reconstructed under the same model as Zagreb" which, she added, her city could not afford.

Horvat said that under the bill, Sisak would not have to pay anything for the reconstruction, adding that 80% of the reconstruction amount had already been ensured without the city paying anything.

He said the residents of Sisak who had a second or third property outside the city "whose value exceeds certain amounts" would have to pay for 20% of any reconstruction costs.

"The government has not nor will it leave anyone in the lurch," Horvat said, adding that the state would fully cover a replacement home for all people whose homes have been demolished and which will not be livable.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

3.5 Magnitude Earthquake Jolts Petrinja

ZAGREB, 16 January, 2021 - A moderate earthquake, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, jolted the Petrinja area of central Croatia at 10.59 am on Saturday, the country's seismological service said.

The epicentre of the tremor was 11 kilometres west of Petrinja, about 45 kilometres southeast of Zagreb. The intensity at the epicentre was IV-V degrees on the EMS scale.

The earthquake was also felt in Zagreb.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Croatia Earthquake Included on European Parliament Agenda

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - At its plenary session next week, the European Parliament will discuss aid to Croatia to alleviate the consequences of a devastating earthquake that struck the country, Croatian MEPs announced on Friday at an online press conference organised by the European Parliament Office in Zagreb.

MEPs Valter Flego, Predrag Fred Matić and Željana Zovko announced the agenda of the plenary session due to take place in Brussels from 18 to 21 January.

One of the topics on the agenda is the provision of relief to the areas of Croatia that were devastated by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck on 29 December.

The basic idea of the proposed resolution on the alleviation of the consequences, initiated by Valter Flego (IDS, Renew), is to draw attention to the fact that recovery from the earthquake will be a long process. The document will be put to a vote on Thursday.

The resolution will bring the Commission's attention to the importance of reducing and overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, monitoring the state of the public and private sectors, the need to revitalise the economy and provide maximum support for the reconstruction of the affected areas. It will also invite the Commission to ensure maximum support for the Croatian government in addressing the consequences of the earthquake, Flego said.

"I am pleased that on Thursday we will get a strong resolution representing the European Parliament's position on aid to Croatia," Flego said, thanking his colleagues for their cooperation.

Željana Zovko (HDZ, EPP) also said that the resolution was a sign of strong parliamentary support for Croatia.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Another Fairly Strong Earthquake Rocks Petrinja

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - The Croatian seismological service registered another fairly strong earthquake near the central town of Petrinja on Friday, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale. 

Seismographs recorded the tremor at 13.01 hours about 17 kilometres west of Petrinja with a magnitude of 4.1 on the Richter scale. Its intensity at the epicentre was V degrees on the EMS scale.

A moderate tremor of 3.1 on the Richter scale was registered near Petrinja during the night as well, with the intensity at the epicentre of IV degrees on the EMS scale.

Since midnight, a total of eight tremors have been registered in the Petrinja area with magnitudes of between 2 to 3 on the Richter scale. Those were aftershocks.

Friday, 15 January 2021

No Reconstruction Possible Without Imported Workers, Says Daily

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - Reconstruction in areas hit by the devastating earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County will not be possible without importing workers from Asia or Ukraine, the Večernji List daily said in an article on Friday, noting that contractors in Croatia are warning of a critical labour shortage. 

The construction sector is one of the few sectors in which the number of workers increased last year, by about 7,000 from the same period in 2019.

Currently there are about 124,000 workers in the construction sector, the third largest in the country, after the manufacturing industry and retail. However, all stakeholders in that sector say that manpower will be the main obstacle to reconstruction in the earthquake-hit areas.

Even prior to the latest earthquake companies in the sector had up to 5,000 vacancies that they could not fill even with workers from foreign markets. In 2020 contractors employed about 23,000 foreign workers while Mirjana Čagalj, the vice president of the construction sector in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), expects they will all remain and that contractors will have to hire another 10,000 imported workers.

Recently channels were opened to hire workers from India and other Asian countries as well as Ukraine.

The Employment Service has decided to enhance its programme to hire the long-term unemployed for public works in Sisak-Moslavina County, its initial plan being to employ about 500 people. Should there be further interest or need, that number can be increased.

Workers in these jobs are earning a minimum wage which amounts to HRK 3,400 net a month, in addition to travel allowance. Social Democrat MP Davorko Vidović, who is from Sisak and has for years been working with the HGK on issues related to the labour market, is confident that that programme could provide a social component but that it will not resolve the problem of labour shortage in the construction sector, the daily says.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Moderate Quake Rocks Petrinja

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - A moderate earthquake measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale was registered at 2.50 a.m. on Friday near Petrinja, the Croatian Seismological Survey reported.

The epicentre of the quake was 11 kilometres west-northwest of Petrinja.

Since midnight on 15 January another eight tremors measuring between 2 and 3 on the Richter scale were registered in the area, which was hit by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 29 December which claimed seven lives and caused extensive material damage.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Minister Says HRK 12 bn Secured for Post-Earthquake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - Construction Minister Darko Horvat said on Thursday that around HRK 12 billion had been secured through the EU Solidarity Fund, World Bank loans and the state budget for the reconstruction of areas hit by last year's earthquakes.

Speaking in an interview with the HTV public broadcaster, Horvat said that clear rules on how to organise reconstruction would be published in the Official Gazette within a month from the earthquake that hit Sisak-Moslavina County on 29 December.

He added that the government still did not have a complete financial framework for reconstruction but that so far HRK 12 billion (€1.6 billion) had been secured.

"Some sources are known and some we are still trying to secure. Around HRK 12 billion has been secured - through the Solidarity Fund, World Bank loans, the budget. As part of the National Recovery Plan we will also seek.... grants as well as loans," the minister said.

The Croatian government earlier on Thursday formulated amendments to the Act on Post-Earthquake Reconstruction, originally intended for the City of Zagreb and Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties, hit by a 5.2 magnitude quake on 22 March 2020, to make the law refer also to the post-earthquake reconstruction of Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

The reconstruction of buildings destroyed in the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties will be fully financed by the state.

Bosnian Croats to finance reconstruction of one institution, houses

Leaders of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Thursday they would finance the reconstruction of one state institution as well as build family houses in the quake-hit areas of Croatia.

This was agreed at a meeting in Mostar between the leader of the HDZ BiH party, Dragan Čović, and local officials from a number of towns and municipalities in the neighbouring country and visiting Croatian state secretaries Zvonko Milas and Nikola Mažar.

Solidarna foundation raises HRK 8.4 mn for quake-hit area

The Zagreb-based Solidarna foundation earlier this week reported that it had raised more than HRK 8.4 million (€1.12 million) for Sisak-Moslavina County.

Some of the donations paid into the foundation's 5.5 Fund have already been used to buy consumables for people affected by the earthquake and the foundation also plans to participate in the long-term reconstruction and recovery of the quake-hit county.

The 5.5 Fund was established by the Zagreb Earthquake Relief civic initiative and the Solidarna foundation after the 22 March 2020 earthquake in Zagreb. At the time, the foundation raised HRK 1.5 million for earthquake victims. It reactivated its fund after the earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County and its fund-raising campaign is still underway.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Natural Disaster Declared for Krapinske Toplice Due to Quake

ZAGREB, 11 January, 2021 - Krapina-Zagorje County prefect Zeljko Kolar on Monday declared a natural disaster for Krapinske Toplice municipality where damage from the 29 December earthquake in the Petrinja area has been estimated at over HRK 4.2 million.

Speaking to the press in Krapinske Toplice, Kolar said the tremor caused "very big damage" to the local primary school and that the medical rehabilitation hospital and homes also sustained damage.

Municipal head Ernest Svazic said the damage to the primary school was HRK 2 million.

By 8 January, 36 homeowners reported damage to their buildings.

27 county schools damaged in earthquake

Kolar said 23 primary and four secondary schools in the county had reported damage from the 6.2 earthquake.

As for the medical rehabilitation hospital in Krapinske Toplice, he said the damage was not structural and that it did not affect its work.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Monday, 11 January 2021

Magnitude 3.1 Aftershock Jolts Petrinja Area

ZAGREB, 11 January, 2021 - An aftershock measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale rocked the Petrinja area at 9.35 a.m. on Monday, the Croatian Seismological Survey said.

A magnitude 3.9 aftershock jolted the area at half past midnight as well.

The Petrinja area was hit by a devastating magnitude 6.2 tremor on 29 December which killed seven and caused enormous damage.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Slovenian and Austrian Firefigthers Bring Aid for Earthquake Victims

ZAGREB, 10 January, 2021 - In a humanitarian campaign organised by the Breznicki Hum Municipality with the help of a Slovenian volunteer firefighters association, PGD Paloma Sladki Vrh,  and Austrian OBR fire brigade, 24 trucks and vans on Saturday delivered aid for people in the quake-hit areas of Sisak, Petrinja and Glina.

The convoy entered Croatia on Saturday morning at the Dubrava Krizovljanska border crossing.

According to the press release, the convoy, accompanied by police, delivered large quantities of construction materials, construction tools, beams, planks and slats, generators and heaters, textiles, pillows, blankets, field beds, food, water and numerous other necessities for the many inhabitants of the quake-hit area.

Upon arrival at the storage terminal of a company called NIL-Z in Petrinja, they were welcomed by Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic, who thanked them for collecting and delivering valuable help.

The secretary of the Slovenian firefighters association, Valentina Oslovnik, its commander, Robert Oslovnik, and the commander of Austrian OBR fire brigade, Johannes Matzhold, expressed their satisfaction with participating in the campaign.

The head of Breznicki Hum Municipality, Zoran Hegedic, thanked the participants of the campaign and firefighter from Breznicki Hum, Slovenia and Austria.

Hegedic also thanked the Croatian customs for the excellent cooperation during the arrival of the convoy, Croatian police for accompanying them and all those who helped in any way.

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