Plenkovic: We Are Declaring State of Disaster Due to Petrinja Earthquake

Daniela Rogulj



January 4, 2021 – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced that a State of Disaster has been declared in the Croatian counties affected by the Petrinja earthquake. 

Jutarnji List reports that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic opened the Government session on Monday, which began with a minute of silence in memory of the eight young people who lost their lives near Posusje in BiH a few days ago.

“Today, we have points mainly related to repairing the damage from the earthquake. I am greeting you with prefect Žinić, prefect Kožić, and acting prefect Furdek Hajdin. There is also Mr. Markt, the first man of the Red Cross, Mr. Granić, the first man of the HGSS, the Chief Fire Commander Tucaković, and the State Secretary for Housing, Mr. Mažar.

Today is exactly one week since the first earthquake and six days since the devastating 6.2 earthquake in which seven people lost their lives. This quake caused enormous damage over a large area. Today, we will inform the public about what has been done to help the injured and rehabilitate. Twenty-four people were injured, 18 were hospitalized, and six were discharged. Four firefighters were also injured, and one volunteer was killed while helping. Saturday was also a day of mourning, and I once again express my condolences to the families. According to the Seismological Service, the ground is still shaking, and many minor or moderate earthquakes have been recorded. That doesn’t mean we have to be in fear, but we still need to be vigilant. The government reacted promptly; we were immediately on the ground at 10 am in Petrinja, with the president and several ministers. We were also in Sisak. We were there again on Tuesday. Sixteen of the 18 members of the Government have already been in Sisak-Moslavina County, and two members will leave tomorrow,” Plenković said.

Plenković: ‘No one will be left alone in this situation.’

“Numerous statisticians and civil engineers are in the field; some were injured after the 2nd earthquake. I hope they are recovering well. Their experience is essential, and we have made a decision to compensate them for the work they have done so far as volunteers,” said Plenković and thanked everyone who helped in any way after these earthquakes.

“No one will be left alone in this situation. I understand Mr. Dumbović’s concerns and difficult circumstances, but he knows that we are with him and with the citizens of Petrinja, and there will be more support for that city. We have done a lot in the field of healthcare. Two hospitals were practically evacuated, and patients were taken care of. Minister Beroš said that they can be accommodated in part of the hospital buildings in Sisak, so they will be able to receive more than 50 patients, as was estimated in the first days. Thanks also to the numerous citizens who donated money to help the victims in this situation. The first response is a great signal of support and a desire to help. The government is currently facing two crises, COVID-19 and earthquakes; we decided to declare a state of disaster in Sisak-Moslavina County, parts of Zagreb and Karlovac, but also to form a Headquarters headed by Tomo Medved. Representatives of all departments will also be involved. The deputies will be Milošević and Horvat,” Plenković said, concluding: “We will show that we have the strength to deal with the consequences of this crisis and open the perspective for the normalization of life and reconstruction.”

Before the Government session, the Minister of Construction Darko Horvat and the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić also addressed the press.

“Today, our priority is to provide everyone with adequate temporary accommodation and logistics to restore the normal situation in the earthquake-affected area,” said Minister Darko Horvat before the Government session.

Horvat: ‘It is pointless to invoke responsibility now.’

Asked about the responsibility of poorly built houses, Horvat said:

“We will sit at the table, but it is evident that the Central State Office for Reconstruction has data, and that is why it is now pointless to invoke responsibility until we are completely sure what happened and who the actors are.”

‘Three disasters hit Croatia this year.’

Minister Ćorić spoke about commodity stocks.

“This year, the Republic of Croatia was hit by three catastrophes: the earthquake in Zagreb, COVID, and the big earthquake in Sisak-Moslavina County. There are 298 containers, and they have been distributed throughout the Republic of Croatia since March. Of these, 201 are in use in hospitals and health centers for testing purposes. Seventy-six were allocated after the earthquake in Zagreb, and the rest, 21 containers, were used in the Petrinja area. The procurement of 41 containers has been initiated, and they will be in Sisak-Moslavina County by the end of the week,” said Minister Tomislav Ćorić before the Government session and added:

“Croatia is trying to find additional quantities of containers for the next period.”

“You can expect decisions in the direction of strengthening the situation in the ground and stepping out by appointing Medved as the coordinator of these activities. Extraordinary circumstances during this year, three such, have never occurred in the last 30 years. And this is a response to the idea that the Republic of Croatia should have had 1,500 containers at its disposal a few days ago. That is not possible. Please understand. We have 1,600 tents for 25,000 people in stock. We are witnessing reports of tents or bags from other countries. We have enough of that, but the question is whether the tents are adequate for such weather conditions; people cannot function in tents at low temperatures. Nobody made a mistake there,” added Ćorić.

When asked when people can hope for a roof over their heads, Ćorić said:

“The procurement of 1500 containers within 7 days is not possible, and it is unobjective to expect. Citizens are offered accommodation in several centers, and I ask them to take advantage of these accommodation opportunities. The worst possible option is to sleep in the car and freeze. We ask them for patience because the services are doing everything they can. The renovation will take some time; it may not be over in a day. It takes time to renovate 1000 buildings in the Republic of Croatia. We need an extra step forward in togetherness. We will have to think that part of the citizens will be accommodated in the capacities available in and around the county to solve the problem temporarily. This is not a permanent solution. Three catastrophes have hit us, and it seems to me that some have forgotten about the previous two catastrophes when it comes to stocks of goods,” said Ćorić.

For more on the Petrinja earthquake and to see how you can donate money, food, humanitarian, sanitary, and material aid, follow our dedicated section.


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