Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Deputy PM Says Government to Step Up Post-quake Reconstruction, Revitalise Banovina

ZAGREB, 29 Dec 2021 - Deputy PM Tomo Medved said in Petrinja on Wednesday, after touring the area hit by a strong earthquake on 29 December 2020, that the government wanted to step up reconstruction more strongly and not only restore the situation to how it was before the quake but fully revitalise the Banovina region.

"We aim to even more strongly step up the reconstruction process in the period to come, following activities conducted in 2021 - from the provision of housing for the local population, infrastructure measures and the removal of the most heavily damaged buildings... to road and power and water supply grid repairs," said Medved, who chairs the government's task force in charge of removing the consequences of the earthquake.

He called on local residents, notably the 5,666 who are still staying in temporary housing units, to cooperate "so that together and with optimism we can embark on the reconstruction process," and thanked the earthquake victims for understanding.

After in 2021 non-structural reconstruction started, during which more than 1,000 houses were repaired and their occupants, 6,500 of them, returned to their homes, the main priority now are all types of reconstruction, said Medved, recalling that tenders had been published for the construction of apartment buildings.

He called for cooperation with the central state office for reconstruction in Petrinja, expressing confidence citizens had recognised the efforts that were being invested, including organised mobile offices where they could submit their requests for reconstruction and seek any other type of support.

Construction Minister Darko Horvat said an agreement was signed with Sisak-Moslavina County head Ivan Celjak for the construction of a new secondary school in Sisak and a new secondary school in Petrinja, thanking the Gavrilović meat company for donating land for the latter school. We will support those investments with HRK 105 million, he said, adding that the new schools would be built in slightly more than a year.

Milošević: Task force, gov't aware of need to build better housing stock, infrastructure

Deputy PM Boris Milošević underlined the hard work done by the task force, thanking citizens for solidarity with the earthquake victims as well as the humanitarian organisations and volunteers helping them.

"The government and its task force believe it is not enough to just rebuild what was destroyed, one must build a better housing stock, better roads... ensure better mobile phone signal coverage and everything else that makes life better and more pleasant. All of that needs to be done to motivate people to stay here and those who have left to return," said Milošević.

The head of the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing, Gordan Hanžek, said that project documentation was being made for 6,000 housing units and that a public procurement procedure had been launched for 1,800 housing units, with an estimated value of construction work of HRK 275 million.

Public procurement procedures for work worth half a billion kuna have been launched, he said, adding that next year public procurement procedures would continue to be launched to enable preparations for the construction of 500 family homes to be completed by early March.

"We hope for a response from the construction sector," he said, noting that 1,200 projects for seismic retrofitting and non-structural reconstruction were in the pipeline, to be completed by the start of the heating season next year.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

PM Encounters Protesters in Petrinja

ZAGREB, 29 Dec 2021 - As he was arriving for a memorial service for the victims of the 2020 earthquake in Petrinja on Wednesday, PM Andrej Plenković encountered a large group of local residents who expressed their dissatisfaction with the slow reconstruction of the city and the Banovina region.

The protest was organised by the Petrinja Spring civil society group, and the PM and his associates were met with shouts and catcalls, with protesters displaying banners calling for a faster reconstruction process.

"Where is our future?", "We are still here, waiting", "You can do better", "Reconstruction has not begun", "I love Petrinja", and "We are not satisfied" were messages on some of the banners.

In their statements to the press, citizens expressed resentment at the slow pace of the reconstruction process in the city, heavily damaged by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake a year ago today.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Government Presents Key Achievements in Post-quake Reconstruction of Banovina Region

ZAGREB, 29 Dec 2021 - The government and the Civil Protection Directorate presented the key achievements and plans in the post-earthquake reconstruction of the Banovina region in Petrinja on Wednesday, saying that over a billion kuna had been invested in mitigating the consequences of last year's earthquake.    

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck the region a year ago today killed eight people and damaged over 40,000 houses and buildings. The damage is estimated at nearly HRK 42 billion.

The main tremor and some 5,000 aftershocks created 149 sinkholes, 16 landslides and 14 liquefaction zones.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, 1,700 engineers and structural engineers inspected about 40,000 structures and marked 4,886 of them with red labels, 8,812 with yellow labels and 26,215 with green labels.

The presentation noted that the reconstruction process includes not just construction work but the comprehensive institutional preparation of reconstruction as well, and that the main goal is not to return to the state of affairs that had existed before but to improve this part of the country.

According to the data presented, over HRK 1 billion has been invested in mitigating the consequences of the earthquake and over HRK 2.4 billion has been secured from the EU Solidarity Fund. HRK 4.4 billion has been set aside for this purpose under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and US$200 million has been obtained through a World Bank loan.

The data show that 458 demolished structures have been removed and nine are in the process of being removed.  A total of 5,666 people have been accommodated in 2,410 mobile homes and 260 in 93 state-owned flats, and the government is paying their rent.

A total of 1,108 family houses have been repaired, making it possible for 6,674 people to return to their homes. Work on 887 houses is under way.

A total of 8,180 requests have been submitted for non-structural reconstruction and contracts on reconstruction have been signed for 3,630 houses. As for seismic retrofitting, 420 conclusions have been made and project documentation is being made, after which tenders will be published for reconstruction work.

On Tuesday, a public procurement procedure was launched for the construction of apartment buildings in Petrinja (4), Glina (4) and Topusko (2). Construction work is expected to start three months after the launch of the public procurement procedure.

In the coming period the government has set as a priority the return of the 5,666 people currently staying in mobile housing containers to their homes, which is to be achieved by building 1,000 family houses and 800 housing units for more than one family, as well as with the seismic retrofitting of 1,000 family homes.

Also planned are investments in the traffic, energy and water supply infrastructure, where the earthquake damage has been estimated at HRK 314.55 million.

As regards the education system, 20 schools have been reconstructed, which cost HRK 10 million, and HRK 5 million has been allocated for the transport of students.

The government will help alleviate the damage caused by the earthquakes to the farm and forestry sectors with direct payments in the amount of HRK 35 million and measures designed for the affected farmers worth HRK 93 million.

As for the business sector, the government says that it has co-financed with HRK 30 million the establishment of an entrepreneurial centre and paid out HRK 14.2 million in 604 grants to small businesses.

A total of 19,650 jobs and the liquidity of 3,800 businesses have been preserved with HRK 315 million, the government says, noting that the number of workers in Sisak-Moslavina County has increased by 1,190 over the past year.

Concluding the presentation, the government noted that the reconstruction is a financially and administratively challenging and long-lasting process. "Foundations have been laid for a good and effective reconstruction process in 2022," it said.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Earthquake Victims Convey their Fears to President Milanović

ZAGREB, 29 Dec 2021 - President Zoran Milanović began his tour of the areas of Sisak-Moslavina County devastated in an earthquake that hit the region exactly a year ago on Wednesday by visiting Sisak, where he met with earthquake victims staying in container homes.

Accompanied by Sisak Mayor Kristina Ikić Baniček and her aides, Milanović spoke to people who were made homeless by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck on 29 December 2020. Seven people were killed in the disaster and another person died several months later from severe injuries. The earthquake was preceded by a magnitude 5.0 tremor the previous day and was followed by aftershocks throughout the year.

The earthquake victims expressed fears that they would have to stay in temporary accommodation for a long time to come because even a year after the disaster they still had no information about  plans for the reconstruction of their buildings.

"I am glad that President Milanović's visit has achieved a desired effect because two days ago, when we announced the president's visit, the Ministry of Construction and State Assets notified the residents that a construction engineer would assess the damage on their buildings within the next 60 days," Mayor Ikić Baniček told reporters after the conversation with the earthquake victims.

"It was a constructive conversation during which the residents told the president they felt forgotten. At the same time, the HEP energy company is still charging them for heating even though they are not living in their damaged flats," she noted.

After visiting Sisak, Milanović went to Petrinja, where he talked to earthquake victims staying in container homes, and visited the Norković family in Novo Selo Glinsko. He is also scheduled to visit Majske Poljane, where he is due to meet with the Bjelajac family, and Glina, where he will meet with volunteers from the Chefs Club Croatia, independent volunteers from Zagreb, Istria and Banovina, and civil society activists.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Telemach Donates 100,000 Kuna to Petrinja Kindergarten

December 21, 2021 - As a solidarity effort towards the town that was hit hard by an earthquake almost a year ago, Telemach donates 100,000 kuna to a Petrinja kindergarten. The donation will be aimed at equipping the expanded accommodation capacities within its extended part and creating conditions for quality educational work.

In anticipation of the holidays, Telemach continues to help earthquake-stricken Petrinja with the intention of contributing to creating conditions for its youngest residents, reports Although the Petrinjčica Kindergarten suffered significant damage in the earthquake, it was successfully repaired with the help of donors by the beginning of the current pedagogical year, but despite this, a large number of unregistered children remained in regular enrollment due to lack of accommodation. Therefore, the donation in the amount of 100,000 kuna will be directed to equipping the newly built space for an additional five educational groups.

"Faced with the problem of insufficient accommodation capacities, we decided to go for a modular upgrade of the central kindergarten building, which will provide places for all unregistered children. In the current pedagogical year, there were as many as 49 of them who meet all the conditions for enrollment, and since every unregistered child means the potential departure of the whole family from Petrinja, we wanted to avoid such a scenario at all costs. I thank Telemach, to whom this is not the first donation directed to our city, and which we will use for the benefit of our youngest fellow citizens," said the Mayor of Petrinja Magdalena Komes.

Commenting on the current needs related to the upgrade of the central city kindergarten, the director of DV Petrinjčica, Nataša Vidović, reminded that financial resources for upgrading and equipping the kindergarten are provided exclusively through donations, which is why any help is welcome.

"Telemach's donation will be aimed at purchasing didactic equipment and furniture to equip the space under construction for five additional educational groups, so I thank Telemach whose financial support will greatly contribute to creating conditions for a quality educational process and enable our children to grow up happier.", pointed out the director Vidović.

The donation of DV Petrinjčica is a continuation of the activities with which Telemach supports the earthquake-damaged Petrinja. Thus, after the donation of two drones to the Petrinja Public Fire Brigade in December 2020, Telemach continues this year to invest in projects aimed at the well-being of children and youth and will soon raise a balloon inside which will be a large sports hall. 

"The recovery of the earthquake-stricken Petrinja is a long-term process that requires the continued support of the wider community in order to provide adequate conditions that will enable citizens of all ages to meet key living needs. In order to help rebuild the city and keep its inhabitants, especially families with children, we directed part of the funds to create the necessary conditions for the youngest Petrinja in the form of equipping the central kindergarten, while the new sports hall we will soon open to the city. but also the holding of numerous sports, cultural and social events.", concluded the director of communications of Telemach Croatia, Sonja Miočić, reminding that the citizens of Petrinja have not had a sports hall for a full year, without which they were left in last year's earthquake.

For more, check out our business section.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Croatia Must Utilise EU Funds Amounting to 320 Million Euros by Mid-2023

December the 20th, 2021 - The Republic of Croatia has an enormous 320 million euros coming to it by the end of 2021, and it must utilise it in full by mid-2023, by June of that year to be more precise. With Petrinja still shamefully waiting for redevelopment and reconstruction almost one entire year since the devastating earthquake struck, there's no time like the present.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property, Darko Horvat, said that Croatia is absolutely ready to accept EU grants which will be spent on reconstructing Petrinja following 2020's earthquake. He said this when in conversation with Dnevnik after MEPs approved the provision at the December the 14th plenary session in which assistance to Croatia in the amount of 320 million euros was agreed upon. The enormous sum will go to repairing the damage caused by the natural disasters of 2020.

"Given the considerable experience we've gained in preparing the applications for repairing the damage from the Zagreb earthquake (which struck in March 2020), we've encouraged the end users of these funds to start drafting project documentation. What's especially important now, given that the implementing bodies are ready to accept the funds, is that at the beginning of 2022 we expect the announcement of the first public calls,'' said Horvat.

Based on the aforementioned decision, Croatia is being provided with a financial envelope of 320 million euros, including the already paid advance of 41.3 million euros. The payment of the remaining part, a sum close to 280 million euros, is expected by the end of the year. Out of a total of about 17 billion euros in estimated earthquake damage, direct damage to the Banovina area is estimated to stand at about 5.5 billion.

As the damage is far greater than the expected FSEU aid can cover, the planned distribution of aid will be largely focused on eligible costs already incurred, as well as projects already contracted or those with certain costs and deadline security. According to available data, of the already incurred or contracted costs of around 240 million euros, almost 80 million euros has been spent on operations eligible for funding from the FSEU. As for the deadline, as was the case with the previous procedure, it is 18 months from the payment of the total amount to the budget of the Republic of Croatia.

According to Minister Horvat and the national coordinating body for the implementation of earthquake remediation, if the payment is made before the end of 2021, the implementation deadline will be June 2023. 

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated politics section.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Croatian Companies Engaged in Banovina House Rebuilding Process

December the 10th, 2021 - Several Croatian companies can be found on the list of those engaged in the Banovina house reconstruction plans, which are admittedly going far slower than anyone could have imagined, even by domestic standards.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the reconstruction process following December 2020's devastating earthquake which struck the Banovina area is finally entering a new phase. According to the plan for the construction of houses and buildings with the beginning of the implementation of projects of the first replacement family houses, things will finally get going in a concrete sense in around five weeks.

There are two types of replacement Banovina house at the moment, in terms of family homes that is - urban and traditional, six technological solutions have now been created, and the procedure began a few days ago with the launch of a public procurement procedure for the reconstruction of the first thirty houses, as was announced by the competent ministry.

In four phases throughout the month of December (given that the first has already started) tenders are planned for another 135 replacement family homes that are 100 percent financed by the state, while those for apartment buildings in areas where the disaster was also declared will be published from the end of December, firstly for ten buildings.

Tenders for the first thirty typical houses have been announced for those according to the urban model of dry wooden construction. Then, on December the 12th, there will be a tender for Banovina house construction in the traditional model of classic masonry, with a floor area covering 55 m2, 70 m2 and 85 m2.

One week later, a tender is expected for thirty houses - the Urban model, classic masonry construction, and on December the 29th, the procedure for another 75 houses will begin.

With the planned duration of these reconstruction procedures according to the Public Procurement Act, this means a fast pace with the start of work three months from the date of initiating the procurement. According to Minister of Construction Darko Horvat, people can choose between two types of replacement houses in this Banovina house procedure, but they have to make a key decision whether to hand over the renovation to the Central State Office or decide on a contract to start construction so that the state body pays them in accordance with the dynamics of the reconstruction.

As far as the construction of replacement apartment buildings is concerned, the managers have the right to receive the total amount for renovation after the technical and financial control, and after that, to verify everything done with the final report of the supervisory body.

"Renovation is underway, first comes the construction of replacement family houses, after the preparations we've made, we'll be giving the task primarily to Croatian companies to build nearly 4,000 replacement facilities in Banovina," said Horvat.

"Our task was to build houses in accordance with all European regulations on construction, for them to be fully functional and safe from further earthquakes, all while respecting the traditional architecture and functionality of the area, as well as making sure they're energy efficient," said Gordan Hanzek.

The launch of public procurement for the construction of apartment buildings is planned (for its 5th phase) on the 28th of December, with four buildings in Petrinja (72 apartments) and Glina (52 apartments) and two in Topusko (26 apartments). This was preceded by activities such as the amendment of the GUP Petrinja, which was recently adopted by the City Council, and the construction sites were harmonised with the needs and urban requirements of Glina.

In Topusko, on a construction site where several apartment buildings will be built, a 7,000 m2 plot of land is being used which is state-owned. For these replacement buildings, which will be built with EU funds, the expected start of construction is the end of March 2022, and completion must happen within a year.

For more, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Removal of Croatian Earthquake Damaged Buildings to Begin Next Year

November the 23rd, 2021 - It's no exaggeration to say that Croatia's post-earthquake ''cleanup'' in Zagreb and Central Croatia is moving at a snail's pace. That said, it is still moving, however slowly. Croatian earthquake damaged properties which cannot be rescued will start being removed as of 2022.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, as of the beginning of next year, the proper plans for the removal of Croatian earthquake-damaged buildings that have collapsed and can no longer be rebuilt or saved will be ready and organised. The State Inspectorate has announced a tender for the performance of these tasks in the areas of the City of Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje, Zagreb, Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

These are contract award procedures based on a framework agreement, and the total estimated value of the works is 30 million kuna, increased by the amount of VAT (meaning the true total will be around 37.5 million kuna). The tender doesn't specify the exact number of Croatian earthquake-damaged buildings that need to be demolished and removed, nor the time limit in which the work would be realised. The quantities in cubic metres of gross space have been stated, and the amount of work itself, as stated in the documentation of the State Inspectorate, will additionally depend on the needs and available financial resources at the given time.

For these jobs, candidates whose bids will be considered should have a cumulative annual turnover in the last three years of at least 15 million kuna, and among other things, they must prove that they have completed the removal of buildings worth 10 million kuna over the last five years.

They also must have at least one construction engineer with five full years of experience who is registered as one of the Chamber's construction engineers, and four construction engineers and truck drivers and six workers, with all of the necessary technical equipment.

The bidders for the Croatian-earthquake building removal job must also guarantee their seriousness with a promissory note in the amount of 900,000 kuna. The State Inspectorate is going to be collecting bids until December the 6th, and although the demolition of these damaged facilities is eagerly awaited out in the field, a deadline of 90 days has been set for the decisions to be made on the selection of contractors.

The State Inspectorate, under which the construction inspection is responsible for problematic facilities that endanger public safety, is performing this task by the decision of the Civil Protection Directorate of the Republic of Croatia.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Magnitude 3.0 Quake Jolts Petrinja Area

ZAGREB, 14 Nov, 2021 - The Croatian Seismological Service registered an earthquake measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale with the epicentre near Petrinja at 1217 hours on Sunday.

The Banovina region was devastated by a string of earthquakes in late December 2020. The disaster struck on 28 December 2020, when three tremors rocked the region, measuring 5.0, 4.7 and 4.1 on the Richter scale. They were a precursor to a 6.2 earthquake that hit the following day, leaving extensive property damage and seven people killed. The region was shaken by over 900 aftershocks over the next two and a half months.

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Sunday, 7 November 2021

Valamar Hotel Company Provides Earthquake Victims With Furniture, Appliances

ZAGREB, 7 Nov 2021 - A shipment of well-preserved used furniture from hotels of the Valamar Group will be sent to households damaged in a devastating quake that hit Sisak-Moslavina County in December 2020.

The Corinthia hotel in Baška on the northern Adriatic island of Krk will be refurbished soon and over 3,000 pieces of furniture and household appliances from this hotel will be donated to those in need in the quake-hit areas.

The Red Cross in Sisak will be provided with the largest share of the donation, the Valamar hotel company said this week.

In the aftermath of the disaster, Valamar sent mobile homes and provided accommodation for people left homeless by the 6.4-magnitude quake. It is one of the 12 hotel companies within the HUT Croatian Tourism Association to have provided free holidays on the coast for over 1,000 students and teachers from 13 schools in the earthquake-devastated Sisak-Moslavina County.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

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