Thursday, 12 May 2022

Croatian Earthquake Risk High According to New EU Funded Project

May the 12th, 2022 - Those of us who felt the Zagreb earthquake of March 2020 and the Central Croatian earthquake, often called the Petrinja earthquake of December 2020 still remember the horrendous and deafening sounds they caused and the disturbance in the back of the mind that has remained after having experienced them. This new EU pilot project which aims to point out the countries most vulnerable to earthquakes won't do much to ease thoughts when it comes to Croatian earthquake risk.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the cities of Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, Catania and Naples in Italy, Bucharest in Romania and Athens in Greece are the most affected by earthquakes in Europe. In those four countries, earthquakes generated almost 80 percent of the average annual economic loss of as much as seven billion euros.

People are also entering data into this new EU pilot project. Immediately after Italy, Greece, Romania, Albania and Turkey, comes the Croatian earthquake risk, which isn't very reassuring, as Vecernji list reports.

''Yes, Croatia is the most vulnerable to earthquakes after these countries,'' confirmed Assoc. Dr. Josip Atalic from the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Zagreb. Over more recent days, recent earthquake risk research for the European Union, which scientists have been working on for the last four years, has been presented. Back during the 20th century, earthquakes tragically claimed about 200,000 lives across Europe.

''This is a shocking fact, so risk assessments are very important. We're currently working on seismic risk for the City of Zagreb, and when we're done, it will be a new step towards better estimates that depend on the quality of data and maps which are as accurate as possible. This is a pilot project for the whole of Croatia,'' Atalic explained.

The EU co-financed project should be completed in two years, and the Croatian earthquake risk, which is already uncomfortably high, will continue being established.

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

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Container Settlement in Petrinja Has Been Closed, Residents Returned Home

March 22, 2022 - The City Administration of Petrinja has decided to close the container settlement in Češko selo after many of its residents have returned to their rebuilt houses after the earthquake, while others have been relocated to other container settlements.

On December 29, 2020, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit central Croatia, with an epicenter located roughly 3 km (1.9 mi) west-southwest of Petrinja. Serious damage was recorded in the city of Petrinja, as well as in the county of Sisak-Moslavina, and was even strongly felt in Zagreb, which had just suffered an earthquake in March of the same year. Many Petrinja residents had to leave their homes due to the damage, and as a temporary measure, the Government and the city of Petrinja designed and built a container settlement in different locations, while their houses were rebuilt.

As reported by Index.hr, the city of Petrinja put the container settlement in Češko selo out of operation in March of this year because some users returned to their homes rebuilt after the earthquake, and some were relocated to two other container settlements, the Petrinja City Administration has learned today.

The audit of the situation in all container settlements, which was conducted in February this year, established that by reorganizing and relocating the users of container settlements, it is possible to put the settlement out of operation. 

Some of the users returned to their homes

Users whose facilities are safe to live in and rebuilt after the devastating earthquake in Banija have returned to their homes, while other users have been relocated to a container settlement in Sajmište or Mošćenice.

The city of Petrinja had costs of approximately HRK 75,000 per month for the container settlement in Češko selo (for the cost of rent, electricity, and water).

The city hopes to end the use of container settlements soon

Currently, the containers, which the City of Petrinja received for use, are being returned to the company CROSCO, which they own, the City of Petrinja stated on its website.

They add that they hope that the need for other container settlements will soon cease and that the residents will return to their renovated houses.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Magnitude 3.2 Tremor Reported In Petrinja

ZAGREB, 10 March 2022 - A 3.2 magnitude earthquake was registered near Petrinja at 1410 hours on Thursday, Croatia's Seismological Survey said.

The tremor was felt in the wider Petrinja area as well as the nearby city of Sisak.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Magnitude 3.8 Earthquake Registered Near Petrinja

ZAGREB, 11 Feb 2022 -  A magnitude 3.8 earthquake was registered in the Banovina region at 0733 hours on Friday, Croatia's Seismological Survey said.

The epicenter of the tremor was near the village of Donja Budičina, 5 km south of Petrinja.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Gov't Adopts Sisak-Moslavina County Revitalisation Programme

ZAGREB, 30 Dec 2021 - The government on Thursday adopted an HRK 15.3 billion program for the social and economic revitalization of assisted areas in Sisak-Moslavina County following last year's earthquake, and the companies there will receive the most in both domestic and EU support.

Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak recalled that the government decided to draw up the program on 14 January 2021, two weeks after the quake, and said the program would run until 2029.

The new regional support map, which enters into force on 1 January, allows for considerably higher co-financing of regional state support throughout Croatia, she said.

Big companies will be eligible for 60% of the support, medium-sized ones for 70%, and small ones for 75%, she added.

The program focuses on stimulating the development of Sisak-Moslavina County's competitiveness and on eliminating the effects of the earthquake, which is in line with the government's intention to reconstruct buildings and the infrastructure as soon as possible and to create a stimulating framework for social and economic revitalization.

Tramišak said the program covered 15 measures and 52 activities aimed at economic growth and development as well as at raising the standard of living.

Speaking at today's cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said HRK 15 billion would be invested in the development of the earthquake-hit Banovina region.

"We will work intensively, without any false promises or illusions that the reconstruction process, following such devastating damage, can be completed in an extremely short time. There is no area that suffered such a big earthquake where everything was rebuilt in under one year. Those are false theses and they delude people," he said.

"We are realistic and ready to work 24 hours a day... but we are aware that such processes require preparation and time," he added.

Speaking of the HRK 15 billion programs for the economic, demographic, and social revitalization of Sisak-Moslavina County, he said the government wished to stimulate the development of the Banovina region through infrastructure, economic, and population projects.

One of the key projects is the extension of the Lekenik-Sisak motorway, he said.

Works are underway on almost 900 houses, reconstruction has been contracted for 3,600, a call for applications is being prepared for 1,200 houses, and applications have been invited for the construction of 165 family houses and ten apartment buildings, Plenković said, adding that the government wanted the rebuilt houses to be more earthquake-resistant.

He recalled that eight people were killed in the magnitude 6.2 quake in Sisak-Moslavina County on 29 December 2020, that more than 40,000 houses and buildings were damaged and that the damage was estimated at HRK 40 billion.

The prime minister thanked everyone who helped after the tremor and was still helping.

He also recalled that those who lost their homes were given temporary accommodation and exempted from paying heating and electricity bills as well as road tolls, adding that farmers, business owners, towns, and counties were given financial aid.

"The Croatian government has stood behind Banovina and done all in its power to make life easier for people," Plenković said, adding that over HRK 1 billion has been paid in aid and HRK 315 million for job retention.

He recalled that 1,106 houses have been rebuilt, to which more than 6,000 people have returned, and that 5,600 of Sisak-Moslavina County's 160,000 inhabitants are accommodated in mobile homes.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Seismologist Kresimir Kuk Talks Earthquakes as Petrinja Ground Still Moves

December the 30th, 2021 - Is the Republic of Croatia experiencing more earthquakes and tremors than before? With the natural disaster which struck Petrinja on the 29th of December 2020 now one entire year behind us, seismologist Kresimir Kuk seeks to explain a few things about one of Mother Nature's most unpredictable and devastating events - earthquakes.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, one year and one day ago, the Central Croatian region of Banovina was hit by a devastating earthquake of magnitude 6.2 on the Richter scale with an epicentre located a mere 5 kilometres southwest of Petrinja. A year later the ground is still shaking and Petrinja is still suffering terribly as a result.

''The expected usual phenomenon that follows after each strong earthquake has shown itself to be true, a series of subsequent earthquakes have been going on for a long time in Petrinja now. The stronger the main earthquake, the longer the subsequent series lasts, and it contains earthquakes that are stronger considering the strength of the main one,'' Kresimir Kuk, a well known Croatian seismologist, pointed out when in conversation with HRT.

''The southern coast, in fact the whole of southern Croatia is seismically more endangered than the rest of Croatia is, stronger earthquakes are possible there. In a longer period of time there are earthquakes that are also more frequent. There may be earthquakes which strike with an intensity of about 7 on the Richter scale down in Dubrovnik, and they've happened in the past,'' added Kresimir Kuk.

''Now they're monitored more in this country, and when looking at some sort of longer period of time, then no, we couldn't really say that global seismic activity on earth has intensified. There are always periods when such activity is more pronounced and when it's weaker, both in this country and everywhere else. The fact is that now after these earthquakes, both in Zagreb and Petrinja, earthquakes that are located much further away from us are being reported in the media,'' explained seismologist Kresimir Kuk.

Earthquakes in the rest of the world

Kresimir Kuk noted that recent earthquakes over in Japan, where their magnitude is a horrifying 8 on the Richter scale aren't at all uncommon for the area, but that such countries also have infrastructure adapted entirely to it, so it doesn’t usually cause much damage to a lot of people living there.

"I had the opportunity to talk to the Chilean media after the Croatian earthquakes struck, and they were terribly surprised by the horrible consequences of a 6.2 magnitude earthquake," he said, adding that earthquakes in places such as Chile are much, much stronger, that there are several parameters that are different, such as the depth of the earth where the earthquake occurs because the epicentre is closer to the surface, and in such cases the more devastating the earthquake is, and a couple of other geographical factors.

A seismological network here in Croatia is being set up...

''We installed the network as soon as we got it all through a government intervention, immediately after the series of Petrinja earthquakes. They record a lot of earthquakes, and they record data which is of great importance that will be used in the coming decades in various scientific disciplines, not just seismology. So far, in the wider Petrinja area, so in the Banovina area, we've recorded about 1,400 earthquakes of magnitude greater than 2. There have been two earthquakes of magnitude 5, about 17 earthquakes of magnitude between 4 and 5, so a huge amount of earthquakes have taken place and a large amount of data hasn't been processed,'' he explained.

''The soil in the Petrinja area is still very active, it is now beginning to calm down, but this is simply a process that lasts and is not uniform,'' warned seismologist Kresimir Kuk.

For more, check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

President Says PM Most Responsible for Slow Post-quake Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 29 Dec 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday post-earthquake reconstruction in Sisak-Moslavina County was slow and that the biggest problem was organisation and crisis management, adding that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was the most responsible for that.

"Things are going slowly. If something doesn't change in a couple of months, fine, but a lot should have been completed by now," the president said after visiting Glina.

A lot of money has been spent but little is visible, he added.

He said Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved, who chairs the government's task force in charge of dealing with the consequences of last December's earthquakes, "has no proper influence because he doesn't decide on key matters."

There is no justification for the fact that people still depend on donations and that the construction of their houses has not begun, Milanović said.

He mentioned an apartment building in Sisak that has still not been torn down, whose 500 residents still live in container homes.

Asked whom he considered the most responsible for this state of affairs, the president said it was the prime minister and that organisation was poor.

He criticised Plenković's signing of an agreement on the construction of a gymnasium in Petrinja, saying that "people... need flats, not a gymnasium."

Milanović said it was necessary to adjust laws and avoid excuses, lamenting that "everything is on hold because of public procurement. That's unacceptable, it must go faster."

There is money from donations and the EU, he added.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Plenković in Petrinja: What Hasn't been Done by Now will be Done in the Future

ZAGREB, 29 Dec 2021 - The first phase of reconstruction of buildings in the Banovina region that suffered minor damage in last year's earthquake will be followed by the reconstruction of severely damaged buildings and tenders for substitute housing, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Petrinja on Wednesday.

The reconstruction of buildings that suffered major damage is now ahead of us. This entails structural and comprehensive reconstruction and further tenders for the construction of substitute houses and apartment buildings," Plenković said at a meeting of the task force charged with the post-earthquake reconstruction of Sisak-Moslavina County and two other counties.

He said that the reconstruction process was gaining momentum and that a lot had been done. "Of course, more could have been done, and better and faster, but we will do it. What hasn't been done by now will be done in the future. But a lot has been done," the prime minister said.

Asked by reporters what he was not satisfied with, Plenković said that it was the general pace of the reconstruction process. He stressed his support for the task force, even though he would like "things to be faster."

"I would like to see more buildings here, 100 substitute houses and 20 apartment buildings. I hope that things will be more visible on the second anniversary. Whoever understands the procedure concerning project documentation and tender preparation knows that these things cannot be done overnight," Plenković said.

He said that in the past year the government had made maximum effort to make life easier for the people of Banovina after the disaster, investing over a billion kuna through different measures, providing alternative accommodation and hot meals, and exempting local residents from paying energy bills, the motorway toll and so on.

Plenković said that the government would make good on all its promises, and that now it would focus on shortening the period of alternative accommodation for 5,500 people.

He said that the reconstruction strategy was to first focus on repairing minor damage and then move on to repairing major damage.

Structural and comprehensive reconstruction starts in 2022 with the reconstruction of 26,000 buildings that suffered minor damage, 8,000 buildings that suffered medium damage and 4,000 heavily damaged buildings. 

Responding to questions from the press, Plenković said that deadlines for the construction of substitute houses and apartment buildings could not be specified at this point, stressing that tenders had been issued for substitute family houses and for 10 substitute buildings with 150 apartments.

"If there are no procedural problems, they should be built before the end of next year," the prime minister said.

He announced that at its meeting on Thursday the government would adopt a HRK 15 billion programme of measures for Banovina. He said that one of the key projects was to finish the Zagreb-Sisak motorway, which would provide strategic impulse for the revitalisation of life in this area.

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.

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