Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Plenković: A11 Motorway to Breathe New Life Into Quake-affected Sisak Area

ZAGREB, 6 April 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković visited Sisak-Moslavina County on Wednesday and met with County Prefect Ivan Celjak for talks on county and government projects concerning the post-earthquake reconstruction of the region.

He visited two building sites on the 11-km-long Lekenik-Sisak section of the A11 motorway. The value of the project is HRK 281.3 million, and the deadline for its completion is 24 months.

Plenković expressed his satisfaction with the pace of the work, saying that it would "breathe new life" into the region and help attract investment.

He said that the talks with the county leadership focused on projects aimed at removing the consequences of the December 2020 earthquakes and revitalising the region. The projects discussed included investment in education, health care, cultural, transport and social infrastructure and housing reconstruction.

Plenković said that a lot of work had already been done, in particular with regard to the health care and education infrastructure. "The reconstruction process will be further accelerated," he said.

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Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Plans for Post-quake Reconstruction of Sisak County Presented to Local Builders

ZAGREB, 2 March 2022 - Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivan Celjak on Wednesday presented local construction businesses and entrepreneurs with the planned dynamics of reconstruction in the  earthquake-affected areas.

The programme encompasses the reconstruction of buildings in health, education, culture, road infrastructure and the like, so that all the projects can be implemented as planned.

The county submitted 68 projects to the solidarity fund valued at HRK 698.5 million. They include 20 projects for healthcare, 11 for education, 9 for culture and 12 for road infrastructure projects.

Several projects were highlighted such as the Sisak General Hospital, the Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Popovača, the Sisak, Petrinja and Glina branch health clinics, the Topusko Sanatorium, as well as four elementary and seven secondary schools and cultural venues.

Celjak said that eight projects valued at HRK 7.6 million were planned for the first quarter, 19 in the second quarter worth HRK 405.9 million and 13 projects, valued at HRK 184.2 million, should be implemented in the third quarter of 2022.

"The funds for reconstruction have been secured and we decided on this clear and transparent approach to inform the construction sector of the plans and dynamics of reconstruction aimed at the timely preparation and application for tenders," he said.

(€1 = HRK 7.55)

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Between Two Periods of Waiting: Sisak Earthquake Aftermath Captured in Moving Photos

January 27, 2022 - Croatian photographer Miroslav Arbutina Arbe documented the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in a series of photographs currently displayed in Rijeka

It’s been a little over a year since one of the greatest tragedies Croatia has seen in recent times: the disastrous earthquake that hit Sisak-Moslavina County in December 2020.
Often referred to as the Petrinja earthquake after the town which suffered the worst blow, it ravaged other towns and villages in the area as well, affecting the lives of many.

Shortly after the earthquake, Croatian photographer Miroslav Arbutina Arbe was hired by the Ministry of Culture to document the damage inflicted on cultural heritage sites, specifically in the town of Sisak. The result is a series of 82 black and white photographs that have since been displayed in a moving exhibition commemorating the disastrous event.


While the primary purpose was damage assessment and the photos are thus documentary above all, as a skilled photographer Arbutina aptly captured moments that would have likely gone unnoticed by an average observer. A music school diploma on a wall ripped in half by tremor, handwritten notes tacked above the kitchen sink, a marital bed buried in rubble, and perhaps the most poignant, a calendar forever stuck on the fateful December 29th.


Devoid of colour, framed and displayed in a gallery setting, the photos are loaded with emotion and take on an artistic property. It’s an eerie sensation, recognising an aesthetic quality in images of devastation and loss, but this only seems to reinforce their emotional impact.

This is also reflected in the very title of the exhibition, ‘Between Two Periods of Waiting’, referring to the horrifying uncertainty that people affected by the earthquake have had to live with. As the author himself stated: ‘Those who haven’t experienced such a catastrophe probably believe that losing one’s home is the worst part of it, but it isn’t. To me, the worst was expecting the next earthquake to hit, that period of uncertainty between two quakes.’


The exhibition was conceived by the author and organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the City of Sisak and the Sisak City Museum.

The photographs were displayed in Zagreb and Sisak in late 2021, and are currently on display at the Rijeka City Museum (the 'Kockica' building). The exhibition is part of this year’s Museum Night programme in Rijeka, and will remain on display until January 29th. Entrance to the exhibition is free of charge.


Thursday, 30 December 2021

Magnitude 3.2 Earthquake Registered Near Sisak

ZAGREB, 30 Dec 2021 - An earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale was registered west of Sisak at 2.47 pm on Thursday, Croatia's Seismological Survey said.

The epicenter of the tremor was five kilometers west of Sisak.

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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.

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Thursday, 30 December 2021

Solidarna Foundation Raises €2.3m for Quake Victims in Sisak-Moslavina County

ZAGREB, 30 Dec 2021 - The Solidarna foundation for human rights and solidarity said on Thursday that its Fund 5.5. had raised over HRK 17 million (€2.3m) to help 1,200 families in Sisak-Moslavina County worst affected by last year's earthquake.

Over 1,000 families have been granted financial aid and some have been provided with accommodation and assistance in repairing their damaged homes and properties. The Fund 5.5 has invested an additional million kuna in the development of local communities in the earthquake- and poverty-affected area, the foundation said in a press release. 

The HRK 17 million was raised from 27,614 individuals and 637 companies from all over the world.

Karla Pudar, a coordinator at the Fund 5.5, said that this foundation, working with several humanitarian associations, has launched projects for the construction of wooden houses and earthquake-resistant prefab houses as well as the reconstruction of facilities for the livestock.

The foundation also helped 133 families to rebuild their homes.

An additional HRK 10 million has been given to local development projects involving local winemakers, honey producers, family-run farms, and associations of disabled persons.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Sunday, 19 December 2021

Red Cross Croatia Starts Distributing Christmas Gifts to Banovina Children

ZAGREB, 19 Dec, 2021 - The Red Cross Croatia on Sunday started distributing 800 Christmas gifts for children from earthquake-affected and destitute families in Sisak-Moslavina County.

The campaign, launched ahead of the coming holidays and the first anniversary of a strong earthquake that hit the central region of Banovina on 29 December 2020, started on Sunday in Sisak and will continue in the coming days in Petrinja, Glina and Hrvatska Kostajnica.

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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.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Quake-Hit County: Levee To Be Built, Sinkholes Rehabilitated, Water Supply Ensured

ZAGREB, 2 Oct, 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved and representatives of the Hrvatske Vode water management company and local authorities on Saturday agreed models for dealing with the key issues in the reconstruction and development of Sisak-Moslavina County after last the December's earthquake, including flood protection.

Medved, who chairs the task force dealing with the aftermath of the tremor, said in Hrvatska Kostajnica that now it was important to build flood protection systems, ensure water supply, and rehabilitate sinkholes, notably those near family homes.

He also underlined the importance of projects within the remit of the State Reconstruction and Housing Office, saying the 500 reconstructed family homes in the county were the prerequisite for people to return to safety.

Medved said structural reconstruction would begin around the middle of this month, as would the construction of replacement family houses in which, he added, many companies were interested.

He also announced the start of construction on replacement apartment buildings.

Next week will see the start of works on a levee worth €29 million.

Hrvatske Vode director Zoran Đuroković said sinkhole rehabilitation would begin next week.

State Reconstruction and Housing Office state secretary Goran Hanžek said 592 houses had undergone non-structural reconstruction and that 300 projects had been contracted for structural reconstruction. He added that 200 heritage buildings would be fully reconstructed.

Sisak-Moslavina County head Ivan Celjak underlined the importance of a HRK 180 million interest-free loan that he said would be used to deal with the damage sustained by county-owned buildings and for development projects.

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Friday, 10 September 2021

Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Efficiency Low, Only 2.3% of Applications Processed

ZAGREB, 10 Sept 2021 - The director of the Reconstruction Fund, Damir Vanđelić, said on Friday that the reconstruction process in five counties affected by earthquakes is inefficient, underscoring that the Ministry of Construction, Physical Planning and State Assets has processed only 2.3% of the applications.

“Of the 12,997 applications submitted by citizens, only 2.3% have been processed and decisions made. They are the only documents with which the ministry instructs the Fund or the Central State Office to conduct a reconstruction," Vanđelić told a press conference.

He believes that "no one can be satisfied with the pace of reconstruction," and that everyone, including those in the system, is to blame.

Reconstruction programme resolved only part of the problems

Vanđelić welcomed the new package of reconstruction measures, noting that he had previously warned of the urgency to adopt it.

He believes that the new package of measures will solve only part of the problem. One of the obstacles to reconstruction lies in the fact that the current law has too many implementing bodies that are not cooperating sufficiently. Amendments to the law should centralise project management and procurement.

He also referred to a shortage of staff in bodies dealing with reconstruction, adding that urgent repairs of chimneys, stairwells and lifts need to be addressed in an organised manner. He believes that the cost of structural reconstruction should be fully covered in earthquake-hit areas.

Amendments to law mentioned only three weeks ago

Vanđelić added that even though experts and the Fund had warned that it was necessary to amend the law, it was only three weeks ago that this issue was even mentioned in the Ministry. 

Fund has received 57 decisions from the Ministry to date

Citing statistics, Vanđelić said that the Fund had received 57 decisions from the Ministry, and 21 of those decisions are related to demolitions while the others refer to allowances paid for temporarily securing damaged buildings.

Four houses have been demolished, 224 public procurement procedures have been implemented, with 98 of them being withdrawn as the prices were too low based on the former reconstruction programme. The Fund has paid out 689 compensation claims for damage caused by the earthquake with a total value of HRK 35,827,981.

In addition, the Fund has received 101 interim decisions and 132 conclusions from the Ministry requesting the Fund to determine the facts related to the administrative process of reconstruction applications.

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