Saturday, 16 October 2021

Banovina Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Moving Painfully Slowly

October the 16th, 2021 - The situation with the Banovina post-earthquake reconstruction process isn't particularly positive. This likely comes as no real surprise to those of us living in Zagreb, where certain areas still look as if the earthquake of March 2020 happened far more recently than it did.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, it was said on Wednesday at a round table called ''the reconstruction and development of Banovina'' that things with the Banovina post-earthquake reconstrction process weren't going quickly enough, but that it all can be fixed.

The round table on the matter was organised by the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, and according to Velibor Mackic, the president's special adviser for the economy, it's necessary to separate reconstruction and development when it comes to this Central Croatian area which was struck by a devastating earthquake at the very end of last year.

"Representatives of the EBRD said that the funds for this are available, but that they're waiting for infrastructure projects," said Mackic, and warned that the development part of this process "remained in the lurch."

Those present agreed that all previous projects related to Banovina are applicable within the existing law. Asked if bottlenecks have been located in in the area, which is why the reconstruction process is taking so long, he answered that bottlenecks aren't something that should come as a surprise to anyone.

According to him, it is crucial to manage the development of the area during the Banovina post-earthquake reconstruction process, and has called for rapid public sector intervention.

"It's necessary for some things to be settled, and we believe that the state can help: from settling the situation in the process of reconstruction, and to speed it up. It's necessary to enter that space regardless of the disorder of ownership relations,'' said Mackic.

Along with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanovic, the round table was attended by representatives of the World Bank Office in Croatia, HAZU, EBRD, and HUP.

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Sunday, 26 September 2021

Croatian Seismologist Kresimir Kuk Talks Ins and Outs of Earthquakes

September the 26th, 2021 - As Central Croatia continues to battle with earthquakes of varying strengths with the horrid memory of the devastating one which struck Petrinja in December last year still fresh in collective memory, Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk seeks to answer some pressing questions.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, just a few days ago, two moderate earthquakes hit the Banovina area once again. At 01:32, seismologists from the Seismological Service recorded a moderate earthquake with the epicentre near Petrinja. The magnitude of the earthquake was 3.7.

Following that, seismologists from the Seismological Service recorded another moderate earthquake with the epicenter near Cuntic, a mere eight kilometres south of Petrinja. The magnitude of that earthquake was 3.6. 

Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk told that these earthquakes are part of a series of earthquakes that are still unfolding and which started with the main Petrinja earthquake which caused sheer devastation back on December the 29th, 2020.

"These earthquakes aren't coming as a surprise us. We've said many times that these sorts of series of them go on. The fact is that in the last month, I'd venture to say, we've had more frequent earthquakes and greater seismic activity and slightly stronger earthquakes than some multi-month average,'' explained Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk.

He also commented on the thesis that appeared on social media that the Petrinja fault had finished ''rocking'' and that the Pokupsko fault is now the active one, which is why many people were worried that there could be a stronger earthquake along the Pokupsko fault yet to come.

"All of it is a fault zone. We have a few bigger ones that are better known. The whole area is seismically active and this is a normal, common occurrence. We can say that the epicentres migrate. We have the entire area between Sisak, and even further down south, the entire radius of a few 10 kilometres around Sisak or Petrinja and the narrower epicentral area, we have earthquakes there that constantly occur for several months. They go down to Jasenovac and then go a little north, north-west... and that's normal. It isn't that one fault was activated by another, but rather that we have an epicentral area that is active,'' Cuk said.

After the Petrinja earthquake, about 40 accelerographs and seismographs were installed in the Banovina area. Croatian seismologist Kresimir Cuk said a lot of earthquakes are still being recorded in the area and that the data they're collecting is being constantly looked into and more deeply analysed.

"We're getting large amounts of valuable data that will provide some significant information about this earthquake in Petrinja for many years to come," Kuk said.

Asked whether the Petrinja earthquake may have relieved the energy in some of Zagreb's own faults, such as the Kasinski fault, Kuk said that the interaction of the two epicentral areas would take much longer to see and that only time would tell how truly interconnected they are.

“The fact is that they're far enough away that they aren't directly connected. The Medvednica epicentral area is still active, which is normal, but it's weakly active and it's rare that we have earthquakes which are actually noticed. That's something to be expected. When they do occur, then they release energy, but it's more about establishing a new equilibrium state after the events of the main earthquakes and a series of subsequent earthquakes. It's the establishment of a new equilibrium that will last for some time,'' he said.

He also said that the thesis that it is better to have more small earthquakes that will relieve the energy that accumulates on a fault is theoretically justified.

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Thursday, 9 September 2021

New Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Program Adopted

ZAGREB, 9 Sept 2021 - The Croatian government on Thursday adopted a new program for the reconstruction of earthquake-damaged buildings in five counties to correct prices of reconstruction work due to a rise in market prices and extend deadlines for the submission of requests for reconstruction.

Also, the status of a legalized property is no longer required for owners to seek grants for temporary assistance and emergency interventions, Construction Minister Darko Horvat said, noting that the changes would help step up the reconstruction process.

The program includes results of a study the purpose of which was preliminary identification of risky geological process, soil liquefaction, and landslides and which was conducted in cooperation with the Zagreb Faculty of Mining Geology and Petroleum Engineering, Horvat said.

Under the new program, owners willing to reconstruct their houses on their own in disaster areas will be able to arrange the making of the design study and project documentation as well as reconstruction work on their own while supervision over finished reconstruction work and payment will be done by the Central State Office for Housing.

The program defines more clearly than before the content of important technical documentation related to reconstruction, the final report by the supervisor engineer, and the written statement by the contractor, and it additionally regulates the necessary elements for all key stakeholders in the reconstruction process and extends deadlines for the submission of applications.

As of now, citizens will be able to seek grants not only for the general design for reconstruction work but also for designs for structural reconstruction and total reconstruction, with the deadline for such applications being extended until 31 December 2030.

The deadline for the submission of applications for grants for the temporary protection of damaged properties has been extended until 31 December 2022 while applications for the removal of destroyed residential buildings, combined residential and office buildings, and office buildings may be submitted until 31 December 2025.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Magnitude 4.2 Quake in Petrinja

ZAGREB, 17 Aug 2021 - Croatia's Seismological Survey recorded a magnitude 4.2 earthquake with the epicentre near Petrinja, around 60 kilometres south of Zagreb at 0158 hours on Tuesday.

The magnitude of the tremor was 4.2 on the Richter scale and the intensity in the epicentre was V-VI on the European macroseismic scale (EMS), the Croatian Seismological Survey said.

There are still no reports about damage.

The Petrinja area was struck by a devastating 6.2 quake last December.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

3.8 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Petrinja Area

ZAGREB, 24 July, 2021 - An earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale shook the Petrinja area of central Croatia at 3.43 pm on Saturday, the Croatian Seismological Service said.

The intensity at the epicentre was V degrees on the EMS scale. The tremor was felt in the wider area of Petrinja, Sisak and Glina.

The area was struck by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 29 December 2020 and a series of aftershocks, leaving seven people killed and extensive property damage.

For more latest news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Croatian PM Andrej Plenković Satisfied With World Bank Support in Post-Quake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with the World Bank's support to Croatia's efforts to reconstruct the areas hit by the 2020 quakes, and with cooperation in projects aimed at facilitating the recovery of the private sector's exporters affected by the corona crisis. 

A press release issued by the government notes that the premier held a meeting with World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Anna Bjerde, and a few other WB officials in Government House.

On that occasion, Plenković expressed satisfaction with the cooperation with the World Bank and the support that institution had provided to Croatia in the reconstruction since the earthquakes had struck Zagreb and Sisak-Moslavina County in March and December 2020.

He was quoted as saying that he was satisfied with the permanent cooperation in projects aimed at helping exporters in the private sector to recover from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister in particular thanked the World Bank for its support until now in preparing Croatia's 2021-2026 National Recovery and Resilience Plan. He underscored the importance of fostering further cooperation and the implementation of projects for Zagreb's reconstruction and revitalisation of the Banovina area in Sisak County, the press release said.

In June last year the World Bank approved two $500 million projects to provide urgent support to the government in an attempt to relieve the impact of the tremors that hit Croatia and of the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Bank also provided technical support in preparing a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA 2020), which was an important document to mobilise €683.7 million from the EU Solidarity Fund. The World Bank also provided technical assistance in the RDNA for the earthquake-struck areas in Sisak-Moslavina County.

Bjerde was accompanied at the meeting by World Bank's Country Director for the European Union Gallina Andronova Vincelette, the World Bank's new country manager in Croatia Jehan Arulpragasam, and Special Assistant at World Bank Group Fanny Weiner.

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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Damir Vandjelic: Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Going Too Slowly

June the 8th, 2021 - Damir Vandjelic, the director of the Reconstruction Fund, has spoken out about the length of time the reconstruction process following the earthquakes of 2020 is taking, adding that things need to be streamlined and sped up significantly.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Lepan Stefancic/VL writes, Damir Vandjelic openly stated recently that the reconstruction process after the 2020 earthquakes was proceeding much too slowly and that, when looking at how it began and the speed of those beginnings, he is struggling to believe that it will accelerate. Speaking on the matter for N1, he said that the demolition of three houses according to the requests for post-earthquake reconstruction is starting only this week.

"In order for excavators to come out to the streets, according to the Law on Reconstruction, people need to submit their respective requests to the ministry. The Ministry has 11,100 requests, of which 18 decisions came to the Fund, and a total of 155 acts came from the Ministry.

The difference between 155 and 18 is actually the documentation that we obtain in the administrative procedure for the ministry, meaning the gross area of ​​the buildings, the assessment of the construction and the like,'' he explained.

"On Friday, we signed three decisions on the selection of contractors, and next week the removal of three family houses in the epicentre of the March 2020 Zagreb earthquake, in the Markusevac area, should finally begin. Now there are only three, but 20 are reportedly in preparation,'' he added.

Damir Vandjelic made no bones about his feelings on things going at Croatia's infuriatingly typical snail's pace, and reiterated his position that the reconstruction is proceeding too slowly for Vecernji list.

"Yes, exactly. Over last three weeks we've been getting just two decisions a week. On 19,000 buildings, just two decisions, that just isn't very fast. The processing of peoples' requests needs to be sped up, and I'd even dare to suggest that the Law on Reconstruction should be improved in some segments.

Therefore, the processing of these requests must be done much more quickly, not just two decisions per week. It can be accelerated, here in the Fund we've shown that we can do about twenty procurements a day, so I think it would be alright for them to throw out about 50 decisions a week,'' Damir Vandjelic explained.

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Sunday, 23 May 2021

HDZ BiH Women Donate HRK 100,000 for Reconstruction of Petrinja Care Home

ZAGREB, 23 May, 2021 - The president of the Women's Union of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) party, Marina Pendeš, on Sunday gave the head of a care home in Petrinja HRK 100,000 for the reconstruction of the home, damaged in last year's earthquake.

Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved was also present.

The HDZ BiH Women's Union organised the fund-raising and raised a total of HRK 140,000, with 40,000 to go for the reconstruction of the Dragutin Tadijanović Elementary School in Petrinja.

The fund-raising for the reconstruction of the school was initiated by HDZ BiH president Dragan Čović together with the Croat mayors, municipal heads and heads of cantonal governments in BiH.

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Saturday, 22 May 2021

Central State Office Seeks Designers for 3000 Banovina Houses

May the 22nd, 2021 - The reconstruction of earthquake-stricken Central Croatia is ongoing, and now those in charge of the process are on the lookout for as many as 3000 designers for future Banovina houses.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VL/Josip Bohutinski writes, the organised reconstruction of Banovina houses which were destroyed or otherwise deverely damaged during earthquakes in the area at the very end of last year is finally in full swing as hopes for normality swell.

The Central State Office for Housing has initiated the process of drafting projects and expert supervision over the repair of non-structural elements in the earthquake damaged homes, which number 3000, in the Sisak-Moslavina region, as well as those located in the nearby Karlovac and Zagreb counties.

A tender for these services should be announced over the coming days, and the estimated value of this procurement stands at a massive 15 million kuna without VAT, and includes the preparation of 3,000 repair projects for non-structural elements, the expert supervision of the repair work for those 3,000 Banovina houses, and the preparation of findings for structural renovation of 300 family houses with higher levels of damage.

This envisages the design and supervision of works on 100 houses in Gvozd, 100 houses in Karlovac, 600 houses in Sisak, 1,300 houses in Petrinja, 350 houses in Glina, 50 houses in Topusko, 50 houses in Pokupsko and Kravarski, 50 houses in Lasinja, Draganic and Karlovac, 100 houses in Vojnic, Krnjak, Josipdol, Ogulin and Slunj, 50 houses in Hrvatska Dubica and Jesenovac, 50 houses in Dvor, 50 houses in Hrvatska Kostajnica, 100 houses in Majur and Donji Kukuruzari and 50 houses in Sunja and Martinska Vesa. The deadline for the execution of the design contract is 30 days from the receipt of the list of the houses, while the deadline for the professional supervision is 30 days from the end of the contractor's own contract.

The deadline for the execution of public procurement contracts is January the 31st, 2022.

According to the prepared tender documentation, in case the contracting bidder fails to fulfill their obligation and doesn't perform the services according to the established stages of the dynamics of service provision or is late with the fulfillment of the contractual obligation within the agreed deadline, the client has the right to calculate a contractual penalty of 100 kuna per day for each day of exceeding the deadline. The total amount of the contractual penalty may not exceed the amount of ten percent of the agreed price without VAT.

The Central Office will soon announce a tender for the services of organisation, coordination, planning and management of the process of the organised earthquake reconstruction of damaged Banovina houses. These will be operational coordinators, the value of which is estimated at 3.6 million kuna.

The services which will be required by this tender include, among other things, the preparation, review, amendment and supplementation of new items of the standard cost estimate for the full repair of damaged non-structural elements, the preparation of a standard project and standard instructions on how to repair non-structural elements with all necessary attachments and studies included, the introduction and control of contractual obligations of those contractors carrying out repairs and contractors performing professional supervision in accordance with the programme of measures and more.

This tender also applies to 3,000 houses in the Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties.

The Central Office states that they have already concluded contracts for the construction of 1,060 family houses. They explain that the renovation of non-structural elements refers to the renovation of Banovina houses marked with a green sticker, where non-structural elements can be chimneys, roof cornices and parapets, gable walls, non-load-bearing or partition walls, roof parts, tiles etc.

The Office says that the works on the renovation of non-constructive elements began on May the 3rd, when the works on the renovation of the family house of Tomislav Klaric in Petrinja started. So far, they say, 6486 requests have been received for the renovation of non-constructive elements.

Public procurement in June

At the beginning of June, public procurement procedures will be initiated for operational coordinators based on the submitted requests from the owners of damaged facilities, of which there are currently around 8000. The deadline for the submission of those applications is open and will go on until the 31st of December, 2021.

Prior to the inspection of the buildings in the Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac and Zagreb counties, out of a total of 37,000 inspected buildings, 8,400 were marked with a yellow mark, and 4,700 with a red mark - the Office said, noting that the assessment of the value of works on the reconstruction of non-constructive elements will be possible only after the preparation of said project documentation.

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Slovenia Donates €67,000 to Earthquake-struck Petrinja

ZAGREB, 10 May 2021 - A humanitarian campaign for the children of Petrinja by the Slovenian "Zveza prijateljev mladine Slovenije" NGO and Radio-Television Slovenia have managed to collect €67,000 for the construction of the "Our Children" house in Petrinja in the aftermath of last year's earthquake, the Our Children NGO said on Monday.

Based on the wishes of Petrinja residents, and in particular families with children who wish to remain in the town, the funds were collected to build a prefab house that will be used as a play centre and to provide psychosocial support and entertainment for children, youth and families.

Various events will be organized there, expert and creative workshops, while the funds collected are also earmarked to purchase equipment and other supplies. The house will also provide help with learning and expert psychosocial assistance for children, adolescents, and parents.

The director of Slovenian Television, Natalija Gorščak, said that in the past 50 years Slovenia experienced destructive earthquakes in Kozjansko and Posočje, hence it is aware of the misfortune and powerlessness of people after an earthquake.

"These incidents are very difficult to explain to children and adolescents and it is hard for them to understand. In the hope that their lives will be back to normal as soon as possible, we gladly launched the fund-raising campaign for all of them as part of our December campaign," she said.

A donation agreement, as the first step towards building the house, was signed by Martina Botužić Dževerlija, the president of the Our Children Petrinja NGO, and Darja Groznik, the president of the "Zveze prijateljev mladine Slovenije" NGO from Slovenia.

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