Thursday, 4 March 2021

Investment in Petrinja Infrastructure, Reconstruction Announced

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Nataša Tramišak met with Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović on Thursday to discuss an intervention plan for the reconstruction of the city after a devastating earthquake in December, after which a group of disgruntled people verbally attacked the mayor.

The intervention plan is aimed at the social and economic regeneration of small towns, it was said.

The minister said Petrinja had been implementing HRK 140 million worth of EU-funded projects until 2020 and that several more remained to be contracted.

She said the goal was to utilise the funds available until the end of 2023 in the Petrinja area and invest in infrastructure and ongoing projects.

Tramišak said €111 million had been ensured for building new state-owned flats in Petrinja, Sisak, Glina and other towns affected by the earthquake.

If standardised buildings and houses will be built, construction could begin soon, she added.

Mayor Dumbović said he was satisfied with the solutions proposed and that the Culture Ministry had promised that Petrinja would look as it did before the earthquake. 

Mayor verbally attacked by protesters

Several dozen protesters rallied outside the venue of the meeting, complaining about the lack of transparency in decisions concerning the right to reconstruction aid and about the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The demonstrators blocked the exit of the fire station where the meeting was taking place, preventing the mayor's car from leaving the venue and announcing new protests.

Dumbović told the RTL commercial television channel in the evening that the incident was politically motivated. Asked who was behind the demonstration, he named Luca Gašpar Šako, the local coordinator of the opposition Bridge party.

"They are not aware of the damage individuals are doing to Petrinja. Petrinja did not deserve this. It turns out that we are lawless cowboys wanting to achieve something by force," the mayor said. 

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Users of State-Owned Properties Damaged In Earthquake Exempt From Paying Rent

ZAGREB, 4 March, 2021 - Tenants and users of state-owned flats and business premises from Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac, Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties and the City of Zagreb will be exempt from the obligation to pay rent or fee for the use of state-owned flats and business premises.

The decision was made by the Croatian government on Thursday because of the consequences of the earthquakes that struck the four counties and Zagreb on 28 and 29 December last year.

Tenants and users of state-owned real estate will be exempt from payment starting from January 2021 until it becomes possible again to use business premises and flats damaged in the earthquake.

The Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property is authorised, Minister Darko Horvat explained, to exempt tenants and users of state-owned property from the obligation to pay rent or fee for the use of state-owned flats and business premises which are managed by the ministry and have been declared as unfit for use following examination.

Since some of the state-owned flats and business premises are managed by the Državne Nekretnine company, the company's assembly is in charge of making the necessary decisions and taking the necessary actions to grant the exemption.

The government also authorised the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing to exempt users of state-owned housing units in Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties from paying rent due to the consequences of the earthquakes after 28 December last year.

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Deputy PM Medved: "Initial Quick Inspections Should Be Completed in 10 Days' Time"

ZAGREB, 4 March 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved said on Thursday that inspections of the remaining 2,000 buildings damaged in the December earthquake should be inspected in the next 10 days, which would bring initial quick inspections to a completion.

"So far a total of 35,772 buildings have been inspected, 4,227 that were labelled red (unfit for use), as well as 7,743 buildings labelled yellow (temporarily unfit for use)," Medved said during a cabinet meeting.

Medved heads the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake, underscored that a list was being updated of hazardous buildings and that documents for their demolition were being prepared.

He added that so far 2,883 people from earthquake-affected areas in central Croatia had temporarily registered their residence in other towns throughout the country.

He also said that 2,897 applications for reconstruction had been submitted.

Medved advised  that 51 polling stations in earthquake-hit areas have experienced damage and that in agreement with the State Electoral Commission the task force will arrange for alternative localities for polling stations for the local election in May.

Medved added that temporary accommodation is still being organised and to date 1,594 housing containers or mobile homes have been set up.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Slovenia Donates Nine Trucks Full of Timber to Earthquake-Devastated Petrinja

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - The Slovenian association of wood processing companies, Sloles, has donated a large amount of timber for the reconstruction of roofs in the earthquake-devastated central Croatian town of Petrinja, and nine trucks set out for the Banovina region on Wednesday carrying 300 cubic metres of timber.

Croatia's Ambassador to Slovenia, Boris Grgić, Slovenian Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jože Podgoršek and officials from Sloles attended the handover of this shipment at Novo Mesto.

Ambassador Grgić stressed the importance of the aid from Slovenia, which was among the first countries to respond after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Banovina on 29 December, leaving seven people killed and extensive property damage. He said that the aid showed the importance of cooperation between the two countries and good neighbourly relations.

Minister Podgoršek said that this time too it turned out that neighbours were the first to come to aid and that by doing so Slovenians proved to be good neighbours, always ready to help.

Immediately after the disaster, the government of Prime Minister Janez Janša showed solidarity and sent housing containers, power generators, heaters and heated tents, and the Slovenian Red Cross initially donated €10,000.

Several times over the last two months, with the assistance of the Slovenian army and private hauliers, a number of mobile homes and housing containers have been brought to the earthquake-affected region, as well as many private donations of humanitarian aid, including those raised by Croats living in Slovenia. 

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

More Than 1,000 Tonnes of Fodder For Earthquake Areas

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - The Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday that it had received more than a thousand tonnes of fodder for earthquake-hit areas and that more than 868 tonnes had been distributed to farmers, adding that it was in the process of procuring an additional 621 tonnes valued at HRK 1.5 million.

The ministry said in a press release that as of 1 March 1,012 tonnes of fodder had been received in warehouses in Petrinja and Glina and that more than 868 tonnes had been distributed through 3,627 individual donations.

The fodder was received through donations from 69 donors from all over Croatia.

The ministry advised that it is launching procedures for the procurement of an additional 621 tonnes of fodder valued a HRK 1.5 million which will ensure enough fodder for cattle in earthquake affected areas for one month's time.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that the ministry was endeavouring to secure all the necessary preconditions so that production doesn't stop in Banovina. In addition to providing fodder for animals, the ministry mediated in the temporary transfer of 306 head of cattle as well as selling 234 head at fair market prices.

She recalled that all animals in the area are eligible for free vaccination and veterinary treatment until 31 March. The expected cost of that measure amounts to HRK 10.5 million and it will be financed from the state budget.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Meet the Petrinja Siblings Keeping the Spirit of Culture and Sports Alive

February 21, 2021 - Three Petrinja siblings have launched a humanitarian action to renovate the town's wrestling hall, purchase sports equipment, and completely renovate the Petrinja Children’s Orchestra premises. TCN meets Iva, Sanja, and Tin Petračić, who are on a mission to build a better future in their native Petrinja, where a 6.4 magnitude earthquake devastated the area back in December. 

"For the last few weeks, the whole world has been hearing and reading about the city of Petrinja as a whole, but we now need to draw closer attention to these two great Petrinjian symbols that have proudly helped put the city on the map. They have written many strong verses in Petrinja’s history, but now, with this unfortunate catastrophe occurring, their future is in doubt."

TCN met with Iva Petračić to learn more about their cause. 

"Our family has always been in Petrinja. Our last name Petračić first appeared on the city fortress military unit lists at the beginning of the 17th century," began Iva on their family's connection to Petrinja. Iva, a medical student on her way to becoming a pediatric surgeon, is joined in the humanitarian action by sister Sanja, a consulting company director and certified auditor, and bother Tin, who works in kinesiology.

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Siniša Miholjević

Iva was taking a shower after a long morning of exams when the earthquake rocked Petrinja on December 29, while Tin and Sanja were in Zagreb.

"Tin came to Petrinja an hour after the earthquake hit, and Sanja stayed in Zagreb with her kids. My mom Vesna and I went to Zagreb that afternoon after cleaning up the glass and everything that broke in the house," Iva said. 

Their dad Miroslav and Sanja’s husband were in Petrinja every day for the week that followed. 

"We are all still in shock, but it’s getting better by the day. I moved to Split, and it still feels like the ground is shaking. A lot of noises remind you of that terrible earthquake sound, and chills run down your spine.

The street starts to shake every time a big truck passes, and that is a terrible feeling I never thought I'd be scared of," Iva said of how she's coping in the aftermath of the quake.  

Iva, Sanja, and Tin have now launched a humanitarian action, joined by the love of their Petrinja and everything it has to offer.

"We want to show that to everyone," Iva added. 

But why the local wrestling club and children's orchestra?

"The Petrinja Wrestling Club is an institution in the city, being the entry point and then springboard for many youngsters to take their first steps onto the mat, honing their skills further, to successfully competing at the highest levels. Their honors include winning six Croatian national championships and five in the former state. Alumni of the Petrinja Wrestling Club include Vlado Lisjak, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics gold medal winner, and Milan Nenadić, the 1972 Munich Olympic Games bronze medalist as well as many other notable fighters at all levels, many of whom found things such as happiness, camaraderie, and self-discipline from its teachings," Iva said. 

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"Petrinja’s wind orchestra Gradska limena glazba is one of the oldest orchestras in the country - 213 years old. It has represented Petrinja both nationally and internationally and has become a fine symbol of our great city. Whether it be the clarinet, the french horn, the saxophone, or the good old trumpet, through the group, many children have been a part of learning and experiencing the wonder and joy that comes from being able to play an instrument. Despite existing in various forms and through different states and arrangements, the orchestra has never previously interrupted its work for a longer period of time than this.

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We hope to help as much as we can to bring back these two amazing institutions. We have many children in the city, and we have to maintain the activities for them. We hope to raise as much as we can. Whatever amount we raise it’s going 50/50, to the wrestling club and the orchestra," she continued. 

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Iva said the response thus far has been good, but she knows they can do better. All media coverage is welcome as it helps people find their Facebook page or website. 

"Petrinja is an amazing city to grow up in; there is no hate, no bad looks when you walk down the street. Petrinja is a city of education, a city of sport. We have so much, and yet people have never heard about us. They all know about Gavrilović, but how many people know that Gavrilović is in Petrinja?

I really wish that after all of this, people will come to Petrinja and see all of its beauty first hand. And most importantly, do not forget about us," Iva concluded. 

"Together, we now have the opportunity to rebuild their future and keep the eternal flames of culture and sports alive in Petrinja. From the reedy lull of an oboe to the cheer of the watching support, we are able to soothe the fears and help pep up the spirits of all these children. They are more than worthy of your kindness, and by donating, you become the good spirit of Petrinjska’s stucka." - Iva, Sanja, and Tin. 

You can follow them on Facebook and donate on their website HERE.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Medved: 1,337 Housing Containers and Mobile Homes Have Been Set Up So Far

ZAGREB, 11 February, 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved said on Thursday that 1,377 housing containers and mobile homes had been set up in Sisak-Moslavina County so far, and 391 more containers would arrive soon.

Medved said in today's cabinet meeting that the construction of the container settlement in Petrinja was progressing faster than expected.

"By Thursday, 81 housing containers will be set up, and the first containers will be ready to move in by the weekend," he said, adding that preparations for setting up container settlements in Glina were in progress.

To date, HRK 73 million has been spent on the payment of cash benefits to citizens, and an additional HRK 8.2 million has been paid to war veterans in the form of one-time assistance.

After the adoption of the Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Act, the task force dealing with the earthquake aftermath has been working on assembling mobile teams of experts who will help citizens in preparing documentation for submitting applications for reconstruction, and they are also preparing a mobile office.

Six companies have been mobilised so far to work on the demolition of dangerous buildings, and 39 buildings in the quake-hit area have been marked for demolition. The state has allocated land to Sisak, Petrinja and Glina which will be used for the collection and disposal of construction waste.

To date, 28,780 buildings damaged in the earthquake have been inspected, and 3,537 are unusable, while 6,224 are temporarily unusable, Medved said.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Petrinja Mayor Says Opposition's Move Shameful

ZAGREB, 30 January, 2021 - Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović has said that the Opposition's quorum-breaking on Friday, which resulted in the parliament not adopting the amended law on post-earthquake reconstruction, is "the biggest disgrace ever", noting that earthquake victims want solutions and not divisions.

"This is the biggest disgrace, a disgrace for the Opposition, the We Can!, the SDP and others, it's a disaster, what kind of message is that to people in Banovina," Dumbović said on Saturday while touring locations in Petrinja where work was being launched to demolish buildings damaged beyond repair in a 6.2 earthquake that hit Sisak-Moslavina County on 29 December.

He called on the Opposition to set this right and "vote in unanimously, as soon as tomorrow, the post-earthquake reconstruction law."

"Are they aware of what people think of them, I have been listening to what people on the ground say, they should come here and apologise, we do not need divisions, there must be no blackmail, people are seeking solutions here," Dumbović said.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

First Container Homes to be Set up at Petrinja Container Settlement on Wednesday

ZAGREB, 30 January, 2021 - A spokesman for the task force dealing with the aftermath of the 29 December earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County has said that the first housing containers that will constitute a temporary settlement for earthquake victims in that county will be set up in Petrinja on Wednesday.

In an interview with Croatian Radio on Saturday, spokesman Mladen Pavić said that the demolition of buildings found unfit for use would start today.

Intensive work has been underway at Petrinja's Sajmište location for a few days and I expect the first container homes to also be set up there on Wednesday, Pavić said, adding that more container homes would be set up and connected to the necessary infrastructure as the ground was prepared.

He noted that by Friday 1,025 containers and prefab houses had been set up and that in the coming days everyone in need of temporary accommodation would be provided with a housing container.

"Those who needed it the most have already been provided with housing containers," he said.

Pavić said that the Commodity Stockpiles Directorate had announced the provision of about 400 more housing containers and that 111 were expected to arrive as part of international aid. That will help fully meet the need for around 1,500 containers, he said.

So far 45,187 facilities have been reported damaged and structural engineers have inspected 27,200, Pavić said.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Firefighter Whose Petrinja Rescue Dog Was Poisoned Given New Puppy

January 26, 2021 – Firefighter Srđan Botica from Slano near Dubrovnik was inconsolable after his hero Petrinja rescue dog Alice was poisoned a few days ago. Although irreplaceable, Srđan's friends could no longer stand by and watch him grieve undeservedly, so they bought a brand new Belgian Shepherd puppy to cheer him up

Srđan Botica was inconsolable after the death of his dog, Alice. Although she was still quite young, Alice and Srđan had built a strong bond between them. The training required for a dog like Alice to become a specialist search and rescue dog will have that kind of effect. The relationship Srđan established with Alice was strengthened both in his workplace, where Srđan is a firefighter and at home, which is where Srđan brought Alice each evening.

The final test of the pair's attachment was to be the rubble left in the aftermath of the Sisak Moslavina earthquake. Srđan volunteered to travel from Dubrovnik to help in the response. Alice became a Petrinja rescue dog, scouring the damaged and fallen buildings for survivors. The inseparable pair stayed for six days undertaking their work.

ScreenshotaliceandSrdan.pngSrdan and Alice at work after the earthquake

As TCN was saddened to report over recent days, the partnership of Srđan Botic and his Petrinja rescue dog Alice was tragically cut short within weeks of their return. Alice was poisoned on the streets of her home in Slano, near Dubrovnik.

Though Petrinja rescue dog Alice was one of a kind and can never be replaced, the friends of firefighter Srđan Botica could no longer sit by and watch his undeserved grief. Over the last couple of days they clubbed together and bought Srđan a new dog. Srđan's new housemate goes by the name of Amy and she's still just a puppy. Amy is a Belgian Shepherd, the exact same breed as Petrinja rescue dog Alice.

It is probably still too early to say whether Amy will follow in Alice's pawsteps to become a search and rescue dog. But, Belgian Shepherds are one of the best-known breeds for this kind of work. They are used as search and rescue dogs by firefighters and mountain rescue in many countries, and as police and military dogs. They have a good reputation as sniffer dogs, particularly in the field of finding illegal drugs. Several Belgian Shepherds have been decorated for bravery and they are very protective of their owners and handlers.

The US Secret Service, Israel Defence Forces, Indian NSG commando unit and Royal Australian Air Force use Belgian Shepherds in their work. The breed is second in number only to the German Shepherd for use across the whole of the US Armed Forces.

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