Description of the disaster
The 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck on 22 March 2020 at 6:24 a.m. local time about 10 km north of downtown Zagreb at a depth of 10 km, affecting the capital and Krapina-Zagorje county. The Croatian Red Cross immediately responded to the needs of the people affected. After the first earthquake, a total of 2,400 aftershocks struck until mid of September out of which some 180 were above 1,3 magnitude per Richter scale causing further damages on already damaged buildings. On 23 March 2020, the Mayor of the City of Zagreb declared a state of natural disaster caused by the earthquake in the City of Zagreb. In the historic center of the city extensive material damages were reported including both towers of Zagreb Cathedral damaged.
The National Civil Protection Directorate and Zagreb Emergency Management headquarters established the joint management of the crises immediately after earthquake occurred and activated the civil protection mechanism with forces to respond to the crisis including the Croatian Army Construction units to assist in clearing the ruins. A total of 1,702 Croatian Red Cross volunteers and staff had been activated immediately after the earthquake and were active during the first month after disaster. Also a few hundred civil constructions engineers have been recruited by the Civil Protection of the City of Zagreb to conduct the preliminary inspection of the damaged buildings. The first response to the earthquake was the rapid damage assessment and clearing of ruins on one hand, and on the other hand, the provision of accommodation, food and care for people whose homes were the most affected by the earthquake.
Over 1,500 people had to move out of their homes because of unfavorable housing conditions, out of whom some 630 persons have been temporarily housed in alternative accommodation in Zagreb student dormitory “SD Cvjetno” and hotel bungalows in Donja Stubica as well as some 1,000 persons housed with friends, families or in private apartments since 22 March 2020. As some people have been already allocated some more permanent alternative accommodation by the state or city of Zagreb, at the beginning of September 2020 some 300 persons were temporarily housed in alternative accommodation in Zagreb student dormitory “SD Cvjetno” and hotel bungalows in Donja Stubica – 241 in Zagreb student dormitory and 49 in Donja Stubica hotel bungalows. The rest of the people moved out meanwhile to accommodation leased by the state or City of Zagreb.. The remaining people in Zagreb student dormitory were moved from Cvjetno student dorm to another Zagreb accommodation from 11 until 15 September (Zagreb hostel).
On 15 May 2020, the Government of Croatia adopted a decision on paying a housing lease to owners who cannot return to their houses and apartments before complete reconstruction – i.e. red flagged buildings. By the end of July 2020, a total of 254 families with a total of 678 family members were given decisions on lease payment for alternative apartments.
The number of damaged dwellings – houses, apartments - and public buildings has been determined at a total of 26,400 out of which some 6,400 are unusable and requiring reconstruction. A total of 30,500 applications on damages have been filed to Zagreb and Krapina authorities until 6 May 2020 when the application deadline expired. The number of damaged buildings is slightly less than the number of applications received. The official direct damages on buildings is estimated at EUR 5.6 billion. The reconstruction costs are estimated in the range from EUR 5.6 billion to 13.3 billion – (the first estimate if minimum reconstruction will be carried out and later if the full anti-seismic reinforcement of the building will be undertaken to bring them in line with the earthquake-resistant construction standards).