Friday, 29 January 2021

Vukovar Hospital War Doctor Treats Earthquake-Affected For Free

January 29, 2021 – Dr. Sadika Biluš had the chance to leave the war-era Vukovar Hospital as bombs increasingly rained down on the town. She refused and stayed to treat hundreds of wounded people before the hospital was captured and she was sent to a concentration camp. Today, she offers free treatment to all those from earthquake-affected Sisak-Moslavina at her polyclinic in nearby Velika Gorica

'I went through the war in Vukovar and the (concentration) camps, I know what suffering is,' Dr. Sadika Biluš told journalist Lada Novak Starčević in an interview with Jutarnji List, 'so I treat people from Banija for free.'

'I am not a cook, nor a roofer, but I know how to treat people, wrote Dr. Bilus on social media immediately after the earthquake of 29 December 2020 and opened the doors of her clinic for free to all those from the earthquake-affected area. 'So I offer free internal medicine examinations and therapy to the victims of the earthquake.'

These days Dr. Sadika Biluš owns and runs the Tomi Polyclinic for Internal Medicine and Gynecology in Velika Gorica. Her doctor's surgery may lie some 60 kilometres to the north of the earthquake's epicentre, but many polyclinics in the affected area are still not back up-and-running. The main hospital for the region, in Sisak, was heavily damaged and its gynecology department completely destroyed. Specialist examinations, such as the ones performed by Dr. Biluš, are currently near non-existent in the affected area. Dr. Biluš's own premises received damage during the fierce tremor.

croatia_hrvatska_velika_gorica_0003.jpgVelika Gorica, where Dr. Biluš's Tomi Polyclinic for Internal Medicine and Gynecology is located © Croatian National Tourist Board

It would come as no surprise to learn the earthquake had not put Dr. Biluš off her stride. She has experienced worse. During Croatia's war for independence, she was working in Vukovar hospital. The town was the most heavily damaged place in Croatia by artillery fire. As the number of shells increased and the guns drew nearer, she was offered the opportunity to leave Vukovar hospital. She refused. She stayed behind to look after the injured and the dying. The cost of this action was her freedom. When Vukovar hospital was captured, Dr. Biluš was taken to a concentration camp. She was released at the end of 1991.

'After Vukovar and all the torment we went through, I did not cry,' Dr. Bilus recounted to the journalist. Following the earthquake, she was deeply moved by seeing on TV all of the help offered immediately to those in the earthquake area. 'But now I cried terribly and out of emotion because that accident encouraged people to do so much good.'

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Serbia Donates Housing Containers for Earthquake Victims

ZAGREB, 28 January 2021 - Two of a total of 25 housing containers from a private donation were handed over on Thursday to the earthquake response team in Lekenik by officials of the Serbian Embassy in Croatia.

Accompanied by representatives of the Serb National Council (SNV), which conducts the earthquake-relief drive "Banija is Our House", Davor Trkulja, the acting charge d'affaires at the embassy, presented the donation.

"After this stressful event, which affected Sisak-Moslavina County, people in Serbia reacted with great empathy regarding everything that occurred and so the Serbian government, at the proposal of the president, was among the first to decide to make a donation, giving Croatia €1 million in emergency aid for the earthquake victims," said Trkulja.

Other institutions in Serbia, including regional governments, joined in quickly,  with Belgrade donating €100,000 to the Zagreb-Ljubljana (Orthodox) Eparchy, he said.

"Serbia's Embassy too became involved in the drive and secured €100,000 from donors to procure 25 housing containers and these first two are part of that donation. They are equipped with bathrooms and fittings and can be occupied immediately. We have procured six larger containers... that have two extra rooms," Trkulja explained.

Donation campaigns are continuing, Trkulja said, thanking the Zagreb-Ljubljana Metropolitanate and SNV for their assistance. "I call on all people of good will to do all they can to help the earthquake victims," he added.

MP Dragana Jeckov of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) said that the aid Serbia sent in the first days after the devastating earthquake would not be forgotten. She expressed her gratitude for the money donated.

At the same time, she recalled the SNV's earthquake-relief drive, noting that many donors had made contributions. Numerous individuals and organisations, she underlined, helped as much as they could with money, food, toiletries and other goods.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Medved: Most Requests for Urgent Accommodation in Earthquake Area Resolved

ZAGREB, 28 January 2021 - Veterans' Affairs Minister Tomo Medved said on Thursday that 928 housing containers had been set up in the earthquake-hit area in central Croatia whereby the largest part of urgent requests for accommodation were resolved. 

"We have on the most part resolved priority requests for urgent accommodation because the local response teams initially submitted 880 urgent requests," said Medved during a cabinet meeting.

Medved, who is at the helm of the task force for dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December devastating earthquake, informed that 278 housing containers were set up this week in Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac and Zagreb counties.

Currently there are 112 containers and 23 mobile homes at the Lekenik base. We have been informed that another 451 housing containers will be delivered and to date 939 have been connected to the electricity grid.

There are currently 59 families with 161 members in all, who have been accommodated in state-owned flats.

Medved underlined that the administrative preparations for the construction of a container settlement in Petrinja have been completed and a company has been hired to commence the necessary works. As soon as the groundworks are over, housing containers will be set up in the settlement.

"That will create the conditions for people who cannot live in their own homes in Petrinja to live in the immediate vicinity in housing containers or mobile homes," said Medved.

Removing structures that pose a threat

The necessary paper-work is being prepared to remove damaged buildings, particularly those that pose a threat. By the end of the week, demolition of these building and removal of debris should commence. 

Medved advised the first telecommunications base station was being set up in the area which should allow a better signal and enable students to join in online classes.

The civil protection authority has inspected 533 locations for the placement of housing containers. Firefighting units have conducted 727 interventions while the GSS mountain rescue team have conducted 117 operations.

Red Cross Croatia has distributed 120 tonnes of food, 48,000 meals and visited 469 locations. In addition the Hrvatske Vode water management company and police are at the permanent disposal   of the local population.

Medved informed that there are still 117 people accommodated in the Petrinja military barracks and that 78 of them have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

To date, 45,232 applications reporting damage to homes in the area have been received and a total of 26,505 buildings have been inspected, 3,109 of these have been labelled red or unfit for use.

Describing the situation in Glina, Medved said that of a total of 7,403 properties, 2,672 of them were occupied prior to the earthquakes while 4,731 were vacant.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Dairy Producer Dukat Donates HRK 500,000 for Earthquake Victims

ZAGREB, 28 January 2021 - The Dukat dairy producer has donated HRK 500,000 (approx. €66,670) for residents of Sisak-Moslavina County, hit by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 29 December.

The financial donation was paid into a government account opened for that purpose.

The company said that it had been also regularly donating food products as well as cattle feed and protective sheeting to its subcontractors in the area.

Dukat also announced the launching of a special, socially responsible project to provide long-term assistance to the earthquake victims and help them return to their homes as soon as possible.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Magnitude 3.0 Aftershock Registered near Petrinja

ZAGREB, 28 January 2021 - Croatia's Seismological Survey registered a magnitude 3.0 earthquake near Petrinja at 0038 hours on Thursday.

A magnitude 6.2 quake struck the area on 29 December, killing seven and causing enormous damage.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Croatian Counties have Donated €670,000 to Quake-Hit Areas

ZAGREB, 27 January 2021 - Croatian counties have donated about HRK 5 million to earthquake-hit areas, and the City of Zagreb has allocated HRK 300,000 each for Petrinja, Glina, Sisak, Hrvatska Kostajnica, Lekenik, Sunja, Donji Kukuruzari, Majur, Dvor, Topusko and Gvozd, the association of Croatian counties has said.

"In addition to money, housing containers, firefighting trucks, search dogs, food, clothing have also been donated and accommodation has been offered for people who lost their homes. We will not cease giving aid. We will analyse the needs in the field and continue to do what we have been doing since the March earthquake and that is prompt response and help in the field," the association said in a press release following an online meeting on Wednesday.

It was underscored that last year was marked with the COVID pandemic and earthquakes that caused the loss of lives and material damage but also resulted in solidarity that Croatian citizens showed when it was the hardest, particularly for Sisak-Moslavina County and the City of Zagreb.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

NGOs Seek Green, Long-Term Sustainable Development in Earthquake Area

ZAGREB, 27 January 2021 - Ninety NGOs, companies and initiatives have called on the government, local authorities and the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County to enable a green, sustainable, long-term reconstruction of the earthquake-hit area.

The head of the IKS NGO from Petrinja, Tamara Jovičić, told a press conference that now is a unique opportunity for reconstruction that will enable a better life in that area.

She said the appeal called for ensuring everything that had not been ensured by the post-war reconstruction, adding that that was the only way to revitalise the area, create jobs and provide a reason for young people to remain there.

Post-earthquake reconstruction and investments in infrastructure should be based on promoting energy efficiency, the use of local renewable energy sources and the fight against energy poverty, the NGOs said.

They added that instead of investing in reconstruction projects dependent on fossil fuels, one should use and invest in the development of local resources, both human and technological, in line with the European Green Deal.

The NGOs said that sustainable reconstruction can be achieved if long-term, systematic and smart investments are made with money from the Reconstruction Fund and donations but also from the Fund for a Just Transition and Economic Recovery and the EU multiannual financial framework.

Criteria for eligibility for financing from those funds need to be fair, transparent and socially inclusive and it is essential to simplify application procedures, it was said.

The reconstruction of buildings needs to be in line with standards of zero or very low energy consumption, with the use of locally available renewable energy sources and sustainable circular waste management, which includes recycling the debris caused by the earthquake, it was said.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Swiss Ambassador Hands Over 20 Housing, 12 Sanitary Containers to Quake-Hit Area

ZAGREB, 27 January 2021 - Switzerland has donated 20 fully equipped mobile housing units and 12 sanitary containers to earthquake-hit areas of Croatia, and they were on Wednesday delivered to Lekenik and symbolically handed over by the Swiss Ambassador to Croatia, Emilija Georgiev Regamey.

The ambassador said she sympathised with citizens of Sisak-Moslavina County and other counties struck by the earthquake for their losses and the trauma they had gone through.

She said it was unfortunate that the earthquake had occurred amid a pandemic and affected an area that had also sustained damage in the Homeland War.

The ambassador said the donation was a result of the two countries' good cooperation. Switzerland is already familiar with Sisak-Moslavina County because it helped a demining project in the Kotar forest near Petrinja through the Swiss-Croatian cooperation programme, she added.

Regamey wished all victims a lot of courage, strength and endurance.

Ministry of the Interior State Secretary Irena Petrijevčanin Vuksanović thanked the Swiss ambassador for her personal contribution and engagement, underscoring that the cooperation between the two countries would continue in other priority areas as well.

The State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Zdenko Lucić, also thanked the ambassador for the donation.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Franck Company Makes Donation for Quake-Hit Sisak-Moslavina County

ZAGREB, 27 January 2021 - The Franck coffee, tea, and snacks company said on Wednesday that it was donating over HRK 400,000 for residents of the earthquake-hit Sisak-Moslavina County, of which HRK 200,000 was a financial donation.

Products and the donated money will be distributed among the needy and earthquake victims through the network and with the help of Croatian Red Cross volunteers.

Franck's logistic partner ensured the transport of donated products to Sisak-Moslavina County.

The goods were delivered to Red Cross warehouses in Petrinja, Glina, Sisak and Hrvatska Kostajnica.

Franck said that it would continue to help all institutions and individuals in need, both those from Croatia and the region, as it had been since the start of the pandemic and the earthquake in Zagreb.

Franck recalled that it had donated products to citizens in need, emergency services and hospitals, as well as the Croatian Red Cross, during the entire 2020.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Nova Gradiska Vandals Attack HGSS Mountain Rescue Earthquake Aid Vehicle

January 27, 2021 – The veteran vehicle of HGSS - the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, was between shifts assisting those in the area affected by the Sisak-Moslavina earthquake when it was attacked by Nova Gradiska vandals and left inoperable

If we've learned anything from the last 12 months, it's that you never know what's just around the corner. Unpredictable pandemics and earthquakes have sent shock waves through our society and psyches. Another thing we've learned is that, in such unsettled times, it's sometimes essential to lean on the shoulders of others, to ask for help.

That's what HGSS – the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service do. They help others in times of need, at times when they may never have suspected they would need help. Within the last 48 hours, harsh weather conditions have visited some areas of Croatia leaving terrain difficult and dangerous to pass. Yesterday saw the identification of bodies belonging to two Croatian men tragically killed in the mountains by such harsh conditions. When people get lost or trapped in such terrain and conditions, HGSS are usually among the first to be dispatched. Each of its members are volunteers. They leave their homes, their families, their workplaces to venture out into unknown situations to help complete strangers. It's a shame such actions are not always reciprocated.

novaG.jpgHGSS Nova Gradisak pictured at work recently in the earthquake-affected area of Petrinja © HGSS

Nova Gradiska vandals thought little of any consequences when, sometime over the last 36 hours, they attacked a veteran HGSS vehicle parked up in their town. The relatively minor damage caused by the Nova Gradiska vandals nevertheless rendered the vehicle inoperable. It was later towed away and ineligible for emergency calls. With their mindless, petty actions, the Nova Gradiska vandals have placed lives – perhaps some within their own community, even their family – at risk.

The vehicle attacked by Nova Gradiska vandals belonged to the HGSS team of Slavonski Brod. It was between shifts of service in the earthquake-affected area of Sisak-Moslavina. Nova Gradiska vandals ripped off the vehicle's rearview mirror, its windscreen wipers and both of its number plates, front and back.

NovaG2edit.jpgBoth license plates - front and back - plus the rearview mirror and the windscreen wipers were torn off in the senseless and dangerous attack © HGSS

Luckily, Slavonski Brod's HGSS team has four vehicles in their fleet and they were able to continue their efforts in Sisak-Moslavina. However, the senseless actions of the Nova Gradiska vandals mean there is now one less vehicle at hand to cover the very area in which they themselves live. Here's hoping they, their families, friends and neighbours don't unexpectedly need to lean on the shoulders of HGSS over forthcoming days.

Page 8 of 30