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.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

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.

For more news, CLICK HERE.

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.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

An Additional €1m for Businesses in Quake-hit Sisak-Moslavina County

ZAGREB, 22 July 2021 - The government on Thursday decided to set aside an additional 7.6 million kuna for grants to micro and small businesses in Sisak-Moslavina County to help them to cope with the consequences of the 29 December devastating earthquake.

Economy Minister Tomislav Ćorić recalled that on 29 January the government had decided to allocate ten million kunas for the support provided to the quake-affected businesses.

He said that as many as 872 applications had been sent since then and of them, more than 600 were eligible for funding.

The ministry established that the initial amount of the money would not suffice and therefore the allocation for grants for this purpose was today raised by an additional million euros.

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

Friday, 26 March 2021

Croatia Rally Launches Effort to Rebuild Sisak Hospital

March 26, 2021 - The World Rally Championship, Croatia Rally, and the Croatian Red Cross join forces to renovate Sisak's hospital, which was badly damaged after the earthquake.

As Tportal.hr reports, the Organizing Committee of the Croatia Rally, with the support of the World Rally Championship (WRC) and the Croatian Red Cross as the project leader, is launching an international humanitarian action ‘‘Together for a common goal’’ to help the General Hospital ‘Dr. Ivo Pedišić’ in Sisak.

The mentioned action will last from March 25 to April 30, and all funds collected by donations to the bank account HR2023600001502892305 in that period will be spent on the renovation of the Sisak hospital building.

Croatia Rally, which is included in the calendar of the World Rally Championship (WRC) for 2021, and which will host one of the world's most attractive sports events in Zagreb from April 22 to 25, is launching an initiative, with the help of citizens, to raise the financial resources needed for the successful reconstruction of the main health institution of the Sisak-Moslavina County destroyed in the earthquake of last December.

The organizers of this international humanitarian action decided to use the arrival of the world event in Croatia, which attracts the great interest of spectators every year, to help the local community, and support for this praiseworthy action comes from rally drivers Thierry Neuville, Sebastien Ogier, and Teemu Suninen. The popularity of the WRC is evidenced by the fact that, in recent years, WRC races have been watched on TV screens by about 836 million viewers, and 13 races have attracted more than 4 million viewers.

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Photo: PIXSELL

‘‘From the very beginning of organizing and bringing the WRC to Croatia, we have been trying to use all ways to give our actions an additional contribution to our community. That is why our vision of the race from the very beginning goes beyond the framework of sports competition. In addition to the promotion of our country and the rich tourist offer, we are convinced that we can encourage citizens to show their big heart again and to help those who are in dire need. We will also promote the action outside Croatia and we believe in the support of many spectators around the world, and many drivers arriving in Croatia have already promised their contribution’’, said the president of the Organizing Committee of Croatia Rally, Daniel Šaškin.

The holder of the humanitarian action 'Together for a common goal' is the Croatian Red Cross, which continuously invests exceptional efforts and helps the affected areas.

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Photo: PIXSELL

‘‘The World Rally Championship race is being organized on the territory of the Republic of Croatia for the first time. It is great recognition for our country, but also for motorsports. We are especially proud that the race has a humanitarian character and that the Croatian Red Cross was chosen as a partner in the implementation of the donation. We welcome the idea of ​​the organizers that the collected donations help to normalize life in the earthquake-affected area, primarily the Sisak hospital. The renovation of the hospital will raise the quality of life in the entire Sisak-Moslavina County. We are happy that even after the race and the announcement of the best drivers in Banovina, there will be a lasting trace of the humanity of the World Rally Championship motorists’’, said Robert Markt, Executive President of the Croatian Red Cross.

The director of the Sisak General Hospital expressed his gratitude and pointed out that he would invest the donated funds in the renovation of the General Hospital building so that it could serve its citizens as soon as possible.

‘‘In the devastating earthquake on December 29, 2020, OB ‘Dr. Ivo Pedišić’ in Sisak suffered great damage. Hospital buildings, medical equipment, inventory, and supplies of medicines were damaged. As time passes, we try to organize and provide the highest possible level of health care to all residents of Sisak-Moslavina County. It will certainly take a lot of effort, time, and resources for the hospital to start working at full capacity again. Therefore, we are grateful to the Organizing Committee of the Croatia Rally with the support of the World Rally Championship (WRC) and the Croatian Red Cross for the donation that will help rebuild and rehabilitate the hospital but also to continue to develop the hospital’’, said the director of the hospital, M.Sc. Tomislav Dujmenović, MD

All information about the humanitarian action can be found on the website of the Croatian Red Cross, and details about the sports spectacle that arrives in Croatia in April can be found on the official rally-croatia.com website and on their official social media channels on Facebook and Instagram.

You can participate in the humanitarian action by donating to the following bank account:

ZAGREBAČKA BANKA D.D. / HR2023600001502892305 / USER: CROATIAN RED CROSS / Reference number: 773; Swift: 773 / Description of payment: Croatia rally for Sisak hospital

To see the original article click here.

For more information about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Earthquake Damage Estimated at €5.5 Billion

ZAGREB, 18 March, 2021 - The damage caused by a string of earthquakes that struck central Croatia in December 2020 has been estimated at €5.5 billion, based on which Croatia will apply for €319.19 million from the European Union's Solidarity Fund, the government said at its meeting on Thursday.

The direct damage caused by the earthquakes was estimated, in accordance with EU rules and the methodology used by the World Bank, at HRK 41.6 billion or €5.5 billion, which is 10.2% of the country's gross national income, the Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, Darko Horvat, reported.

EU member states are entitled to aid from the European Solidarity Fund if total direct damage caused by a major natural disaster exceeds 0.6% of the country’s gross national income.

Horvat said that this included the damage done in Sisak-Moslavina County, Karlovac County and Zagreb County, subsequent damage in the City of Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje County, as well as damage done to individual properties in Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Virovitica-Podravina County, Požega-Slavonia County, Osijek-Baranja County, Međimurje County, Varaždin County and Koprivnica-Križevci County.

Based on this damage assessment, Croatia can apply for a contribution of €319.19 million from the European Solidarity Fund and will do so, said the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Nataša Tramišak.

Emergency measures that qualify for EU funding include restoration of infrastructure and plants in the energy sector, water supply, waste-water management, telecommunications, transport, healthcare and education, provision of temporary accommodation, rescue services, cultural heritage protection, and clean-up operations.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that he had discussed this matter with relevant EU authorities last week and announced that this week Croatia would apply for funding from the Solidarity Fund.

"I am confident that this time too, just as was the case with initial damage from the earthquakes, we will receive strong support from this European fund," the prime minister said.

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

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.'

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Over 32,500 Damaged Sisak-Moslavina County Buildings Reported

January 13, 2021 – So far, over 32,500 damaged Sisak-Moslavina County buildings have been reported, with just under half having already been visited for inspection

Building inspections have been ceaseless since the large earthquake struck the area. They will continue for many more weeks to come. So far, more than 32,500 damaged Sisak-Moslavina County buildings have been reported. Building inspectors have already managed to reach just under half of those, visiting to assess if homes and workplaces can safely be returned to. For the unlucky ones, the answer will sadly be no.

The county issued a report on the building inspection progress on Tuesday 12 January. The report stated that of the damaged Sisak-Moslavina County buildings already inspected, there are 5,673 facilities that can be used but with a recommendation for action. The report also detailed that the exact number of damaged Sisak-Moslavina County buildings reported up until yesterday was 32,567. Just under half of them have already been inspected - 15,187.

135535104_704967340005105_1038395679083706393_n.jpgJust under half of the buildings that have been reported as damaged have already been visited by inspectors for an initial assessment. The process of inspections will last for many weeks to come

179 damaged Sisak-Moslavina County buildings have already been classed as unusable due to external influences, with a further 2,032 also classed as such due to damage. A total of 1,615 damaged Sisak-Moslavina County buildings have been classed as temporarily unusable by initial surveys. These will require return visits for a more detailed inspection.

A further 1,932 buildings were similarly classed as temporarily unusable, but were earmarked for urgent interventions to prevent further deterioration in the structures. Within the report, 402 buildings were assessed as being usable and undamaged, and 3,354 buildings were classed as being usable without restrictions. In the opinion of inspectors, 5673 have been assessed as usable but with the recommendation of works to take place which will ensure their integrity.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

PHOTOS: Changing Face of Historic Petrinja - How It Used To Look

January 12, 2021 – The pictures of Sisak-Moslavina after the earthquake of late 2020 tell a terrible tale. Sitting close to the epicentre, the town of Petrinja was badly damaged. Once the main town of the area, this is not the first tragedy it has undergone. Nor is it the only tragedy it will overcome. The devastating pictures we currently see are not the real Petrinja. These images are temporary. Historic Petrinja has survived the attack of invading armies, of changing politics and regimes. It has rebuilt, kept its heart and retained its community. The following pictures remind us of historic Petrinja through the ages – how it once was, and how it will be again

"From 1991 to 1995 we were occupied," one resident of historic Petrinja tells TCN of his remembrances of the Homeland war. "Here and near Karlovac was the closest they got to Zagreb. If you think about it, that's really close. The town was devastated. My street was burned almost completely to the ground. My house included. I think maybe 5 houses in the whole street survived. That's from a total of around 50."

Were these houses destroyed by guns attacking the occupiers or by those occupying the town? (your interviewer asks, perhaps naively)

"Ha! (a dry laugh) They were destroyed by those occupying the town".

Why would anyone do that to a town that they wanted to be part of their country?

"For over 20 years I ask myself the same question, Marc. I still do not have an answer to this day. They burned half of the city immediately after the occupation began. We saw our town burning to the ground. I was just a child at this time, my family fled to Sisak."

135495522_10224124757649344_7302408235552627236_o.jpgCroatian Home (Hrvatski Dom). At the time of this image, the building was located on Banska street. Today, it is known as Matije Gupca street

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Croatian Home (Hrvatski Dom) on Banska street (today's Matije Gupca Street)

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Formerly Školska street, this street is today known as Gundulićeva

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Today's secondary school building, formerly a teacher training school and a grammar school on Školska street (today's Gundulićeva)

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View of the former town courthouse from Petrinja town park

The town of Petrinja occurs where the river Petrinjčica meets the river Kupa , about 13 km southwest of Sisak and about 48 km southeast of Zagreb. Historic Petrinja is the capital of an area today known as Banija or Banovina (both are correct). The prefix 'Ban' refers to the title of a royal appointed 'duke', or similar, who used to run the area (or not) when it was part of the Austrian empire.

Many people have travelled very far to help the relief efforts since the earthquake of late December 2020. Because some people have no homes, no electricity, no food, no jobs, no heat. And it is the middle of winter. Others stay at home and argue online about whether the area should be referred to as Banija or Banjovina. How - and if - you judge such a debate is entirely your choice.

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135533083_10224124759009378_7248974313764200861_o.jpgChurch of St. Lawrence in the town park

After fleeing from the invading ottomans, the Gavrilović family located in the area of historic Petrinja during the mid 17th century. In the year 1773, the Empress Marija Teresa decided Petrinja would be a centre of craft guilds, including the butcher's guild, of which the Gavrilović family were a part.

In the early 1800s, the Gavrilović family became the main suppliers of meat for Napoleon’s troops located here, on the former military frontier. By 1883, long after the departure of the French, the Gavrilović meat factory employed 50 people and slaughtered 50 pigs a day. It became Croatia's first salami, sausages and cured meats factory.

136353711_10224124758369362_4721033633361433876_o.jpgCroatia's first salami factory on Srnakova / Gundulićeva street

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Iron bridge over the river Petrinjčica, Matije Gupca Street

136048477_10224124787010078_2473803403924502040_o.jpgTrgovačka street, today known as Nazorova street

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The town dates back to at least the 13th century, as does its first fortifications, built to stand against the invading Tartars. The city was granted free royal status during this time for its defence against these invaders

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135538536_10224124787930101_5604646412658496549_o.jpgThe town hotel, on Turkulinova / Nazorova street

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Petrinja springhead/water source on Jelen hill

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The grand opening of the city waterworks, on the hills overlooking Petrinja

138081812_10224181867637058_6953046044654793116_n.jpgContemporary view

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Historic Petrinja: The Yugoslav era


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Petrinja has always been a town of the Christian religion. Many Orthodox Christians fled to the area to escape the invading Ottomans. The name of the town's most famous industrial family, Gavrilović, for instance, is more associated with Orthodox Serbia than Catholic Croatia. But, by 1948, over 82% of the town identified as Croatian. The town and surrounding areas were repopulated following the Second World War, for political and economic reasons. By 1981, 31.36% of the population of historic Petrinja and its surrounding settlements identified as Serbs, 39.31% as Croats and 24.69% as Yugoslavs. If you're not from the region, that might be difficult to get your head around.

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”Even in the times of the Iron Curtain, the Gavrilović company supplied meat to the American army who were stationed in some areas of southern and eastern Europe,” a resident of historic Petrinja tells TCN. “Everyone across Yugoslavia knew about this company. They had lots of great products – they still do! Many people used to work there,” Although the Gavrilović family fled the area after the Second World War, when the company was seized and nationalised by communist authorities, they came back in the 1990s to save it from bankruptcy. They returned production to the historic Petrinja area and today the company is run by the ninth generation of the Gavrilović family to be at the helm

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Croatia is renowned for many famous sculptors, not least Ivan Mestrovic, whose works appear all over the world. However, the first sculpture ever produced in Croatia as a public work of art was a statue of 'people's politician' Stjepan Radić, who came from nearby Desno Trebarjevo, Martinska Ves. It was made by Croatian sculptor Mila Wod (1929 in historic Petrinja). It was unveiled in Petrinja in 1936, but removed and vandalised during the 1991-1995 occupation, but found nearby, restored and returned to the centre of Petrinja in1999 in a square now named after Stjepan Radić.

StjepanRinP.jpg© Tourist Board of Petrinja

All photos © Tajanstvena Hrvatska / Public domain unless otherwise identified

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