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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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.

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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.

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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
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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

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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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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
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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. 

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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

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Sisak
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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

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

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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. 

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

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Prisoners from Sisak and Glina Jails being transferred to other penitentiaries

ZAGREB, Dec 30, 2020 - The prison buildings in Sisak and Glina sustained some damage in Tuesday's earthquake and prisoners are being transferred to other penitentiaries across Croatia, Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Wednesday after he visited Sisak.

During his visit to quake-hit areas, Malenica expressed condolences to the family of a prison guard killed in the earthquake as well as to another prison guard whose family member died in the deadly quake that claimed seven lives.

Malenica said that the authorities had promptly responded on Tuesday when the earthquake struck the area and the Sisak prison was immediately evacuated. At the moment of the disaster, there were 60 inmates. They were first evacuated to the yard of the building and later were transported to some other prisons in Zagreb, Bjelovar and Gospic.

There are about 80 inmates in the Glina prison and they are also likely to be transferred to other penitentiary facilities in the course of the day.

Structural engineers who checked the Sisak prison building registered some damage and Minister Malenica said that he could not say yet when the building could be used again.

During yesterday's quake, an inmate in Sisak Prison was slightly injured and was given medical assistance, the Ministry of the Interior said after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck the area on Tuesday.

None of the prisoners and staff at the penitentiary in the nearby town of Glina were injured, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Istria Sends a Convoy of Caravans to Petrinja: 'This Is Just the Beginning'

December 30, 2020 – For the part of the population who have lost a place to sleep, Istria sent a convoy of caravans to Petrinja and other earthquake-ravaged surrounding places.

After the Istrian firefighters went to help the injured in Petrinja and its surroundings yesterday, today Istrians showed a big heart again. Namely, in front of the Žatika hall in Poreč, a convoy of caravans headed towards the earthquake-affected areas.

As Jutarnji.hr reports, the caravan owners from Istria sent 16 of them, equipped, to Petrinja and Glina on Wednesday, so that part of the Petrinja and Glina residents could have a place to sleep.

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A convoy of caravans headed from Istria to Petrinja / Photo: the City of Poreč - Parenzo

This humanitarian action was initiated by Denis Bernobić from Poreč, the owner of a local towing service, together with the owner of a small family camp Polidor near Funtana, Adrian Ukušić. According to both of them, whom Jutarnji found in a convoy near Rijeka while transporting the first contingent of houses, this is just the beginning.

"Private owners of caravans responded to the action, and among them are even some Germans who have their caravan in the Bijela Uvala camp near Poreč. They called me and said they were giving their caravan away with all the papers. People immediately started appearing like crazy from all over Istria, so this is only the first contingent," says Bernobić, who set off for Petrinja and Glina on Wednesday together with colleagues with eight trucks, seven jeeps, and two vans.

They are driving caravans directly to people who were left without roofs and slept outside last night, and they have everything – toilets, beds, and heating.

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The caravans are equipped with food and drinks / Photo: the City of Poreč - Parenzo

"The caravans are also full of drinks and food. There are even wood and wood stoves inside. The van is full of bedding. Everyone helped us to equip them, and the Red Cross from Poreč and Rovinj were especially active, and I thank them for that," says Bernobić, whose phone keeps ringing.

"They keep calling me across all platforms because people want to give away their caravans. So we will drive towards Petrinja and Glina in the coming days as well. We expect to take about 40 caravans to the affected areas in the next few days. Colleagues from Koper and Slovenia who have a towing service also call me to help us take the campers, "points out Bernobić, who took similar action with Ukušić when Gunja was flooded.

The owner of Polidor was also with him in convoy, and he gave two of his camps. Mayor of Poreč Loris Peršurić also supported Bernobić.

"These are all donations from citizens from all over Poreč and beyond. Poreč Red Cross, local committees, and numerous associations and initiatives still collect all kinds of help. This is an unprecedented tragedy. The minimum we can do is help people whose homes have been destroyed, who are terrified, and whose horrors, unfortunately, are not over yet," Mayor Peršurić told Hina.

 Follow our live updates on the situation in Croatia's earthquake-hit areas here; find out how you can donate here.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Minister: 150 Soldiers in the Field, 350 on Standby Ready to Help

ZAGREB, Dec 30, 2020 - Defence Minister Mario Banozic said on Wednesday that there were currently 150 troops in the quake-stricken areas in Petrinja, Sisak, and Glina and another 350 were on standby adding that the local barracks would be fully occupied by local residents whose homes were damaged in Tuesday's quake.

"At the moment there are about 150 soldiers in the field in Petrinja, Glina, Sisak, and in all municipalities that expressed their need for help at a meeting of the civil protection authority today. We also have another 350 soldiers on standby," Banozic said during a cabinet meeting.

There are also five helicopters, three are in Petrinja and two in Zagreb to ensure emergency medical transport. The thing that is needed the most today is heavy machinery to remove and demolish hazardous buildings.

He commended the army and civil protection units as well as the homeland security system for their prompt organization to tend to the people. He added that teams were dispersed so that as few of them were housed in the barracks while the others were on standby.

There is room for about 500 people at the Petrinja barracks and Banozic said that last night 315 people were accommodated there, particularly the elderly from aged care facilities. This morning an additional 15 to 20 elderly people arrived in the barracks.

"I have the feeling that the barracks will be filled by this evening because a lot of people did not know how to get to the barracks yesterday and some stayed in their homes not wanting to leave. It started to rain too so I believe that tonight the barracks will be full," he underlined.

Banozic said that the military headquarters building in Zagreb suffered some minor damage in Tuesday's earthquake and that they were waiting for structural engineers to inspect the damage.

 President Zoran Milanovic, who is the supreme commander, on Wednesday toured the quake-hit areas and visited soldiers on the ground.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Albania Donates €250,000 to Croatia after Earthquake

ZAGREB, Dec 30, 2020 - Albania will donate €250,000 to Croatia for post-earthquake reconstruction, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Wednesday.

"Just signed the Government of Albania decree to donate 250k EURO to brotherly Croatia to help the rebirth of Petrinja after the devastating earthquake! Croatia is an example of resilience and a role model for us in its amazing transformation into a proud EU country," Rama tweeted.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Albania in November 2019, claiming 51 lives. On that occasion, Croatia sent rescue teams and search dogs and donated €1 million at a donor conference organized by the European Commission for the reconstruction of hospitals and schools.

The 6.2 quake that struck Croatia's Sisak-Moslavina County on Tuesday killed at least seven and injured dozens, destroying hundreds of houses in Petrinja, Glina, Sisak, and nearby towns and villages.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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