Wednesday, 6 April 2022

€3.5m Renovated Operating Block in Zagreb's Children's Hospital Reopened

ZAGREB, 6 April 2022  - Health Minister Vili Beroš on Wednesday opened a renovated operating block at Zagreb's Children's Hospital, noting that it was the first reconstructed hospital block in Zagreb since the 22 March 2020 earthquake, an investment worth HRK 26.2 million (€3.5 million).

"The reconstruction of the hospital block proves the government and ministry's strategy to help in the recovery of health institutions' capacity", the minister said.

The block, which consists of two fully equipped operating rooms, was fully renovated with funds from the 2014-2020 Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion and a Health Ministry budget reallocation of HRK 10.6 million.

"The reopening of the operating rooms and restoring the accommodation capacity of the Children's Hospital is the first significant step in the recovery of the city's medical capacity since the earthquake", hospital director Goran Roić said.

Minister Beroš announced other similar projects in the Zagreb medical system.

As regards efforts to deal with the consequences of the 2020 earthquake, based on a public call by the Health Ministry for the allocation of grants, contracts have been signed so far with 60 institutions, established by the state or the City of Zagreb, worth HRK 2.3 billion.

Of that amount, HRK 850 million comes from the European Solidarity Fund and HRK 1.45 billion from other sources.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Sunday, 20 February 2022

€266k Contracts Inked for Zagreb Health Institutions' Post-quake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 20 Feb 2022 - A total of 43 contracts, worth 1.98 billion kuna, have been signed so far for the post-quake reconstruction of health institutions in Zagreb and its surroundings, since the 22 March 2020 devastating earthquake, according to the data provided by the Health Ministry.

Since the advertisement of a tender inviting healthcare institutions to apply for EU grants, there have been 60 applications, most of which are from university clinical centres, general hospitals and local health centres.

Croatia will be able to use money from the European Solidarity Fund (ESF) for earthquake relief until June 2023, one year longer than the initial 18 months given.

When it comes to urgent post-quake reconstruction, one application refers to works valued at HRK 4.2 million where to date, outlays have been disbursed to cover HRK 584,000 of that amount.

For instance, the damage caused by the tremor to the University Hospital Centre (KBC) Zagreb is estimated at HRK 1.1 billion.

The City of Zagreb administration plans to submit an additional 20 projects for the reconstruction of local health institutions for these grants.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

EP Seeks Easier Access to Solidarity Fund for Regions Struck by Natural Disasters

ZAGREB, 19 May, 2021 - The European Parliament on Tuesday adopted a report on the review of the EU Solidarity Fund and called on the Commission to facilitate the use of aid from the fund for regions struck by natural disasters, noting that 2020 was a great challenge, in particular for Croatia.

The EP pointed to the difficulties faced by beneficiary countries when it comes to determining precise amounts of damage in very short periods of time. It said that climate change and the intensification of natural disasters were making member states increasingly vulnerable and that the EU should speed up aid disbursement to regions affected by natural disasters.

MEPs therefore called on the Commission to explore ways of removing administrative barriers and to demonstrate maximum flexibility in fund allocation.

Parliament called for special attention to be paid to outermost regions, islands and regions prone to seismic or volcanic activity that are the most at risk of natural disasters.

The report was adopted by 668 votes in favour, 10 against and 18 abstentions.

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit said that 17 member states, including Croatia, and three accession countries had been allocated funds to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

He noted that Croatia was one of the countries that had been allocated the largest amount of financial aid, given that it was also struck by two strong earthquakes and a series of minor tremors. A total of €683.7 million was disbursed to Croatia already after the first earthquake in 2020. This is the largest amount ever paid out after a natural disaster, he added.

Schmit said that Croatia would take a long time to recover and would need additional funding, adding that this only showed how important the Solidarity Fund was.

The EU Solidarity Fund was established in 2020 to provide aid to member states in the event of major natural disasters and other emergencies.

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Thursday, 8 April 2021

Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek Confident of Prompt Reconstruction of Quake-Damaged Monuments

ZAGREB, 8 April, 2021 - Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek said on Thursday the most important thing in the reconstruction of the cultural heritage was to reinforce and repair all monuments in a short time and that the first allocation would help to carry out all urgent works in 18 months.

The first allocation at our disposal is €680 million from the European Solidarity Fund, she told the press, saying that the recently outlined national recovery and resilience plan included reconstruction funds.

Croatia also has at its disposal funds approved by the World Bank, she said, adding that she also expected the approval of an allocation following last December's earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County.

She said the damage to the cultural heritage in Zagreb following the March 2020 quake was estimated at €7 billion.

The reconstruction of complex monuments such as Zagreb's Mirogoj cemetery would take years and the necessary funds will be raised from various sources, the minister said.

She said her ministry had received more than 130 acceptable reconstruction applications and that contracts had been signed for a little over 40 monuments, including sacral and public buildings.

She added that public procurement was already under way and that over the past year experts from the ministry and Zagreb's faculties of civil engineering, geodesy, and architecture had completed the required documents for all monuments.

The first objective is to reinforce the buildings to prevent them from being a threat and deteriorating, the minister said.

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