UNICEF Country Office for Croatia: Earthquake Situation Report #4, January 20th 2021

News and Press Release
Originally published


Key highlights

 Following the most devastating earthquake that hit Croatia in 140 years causing 8 human victims, the Government declared a state of disaster for Sisak-Moslavina County and parts of Zagreb and Karlovac Counties.

 UNICEF urgently delivered 13,5 tons of emergency supplies and approximately 29.000 packages of hygiene products delivered to 24 public and health institutions - schools, kindergartens, general hospital and health centres in the area of Petrinja, Sisak and Glina

 The Government also opened a state treasury account for helping those affected by the earthquakes and appealed to citizens to be cautious given the resurgence of fake donation accounts.

 The Ministry responsible for families and social policy deployed an additional social workforce to the affected areas and allocated funding to provide one-off cash benefits. More than 10,000 requests have been submitted so far.

 The state-owned company Pleter took over food preparation for the victims of the earthquake which had so far been organised by private volunteer hospitality workers.

 The UNICEF Country Office in Croatia and the Slovenia National Committee for UNICEF launched emergency fundraising appeals and raised USD 291,000 funds within Slovenia and Croatia for both the immediate and the longer-term emergency response.

Situation overview & Humanitarian needs

Two strong earthquakes measuring 5.2 and 6.3 on the Richter scale hit the area of Petrinja town in Sisak-Moslavina Country on December 28 and 29 2020, causing numerous casualties and widespread material damage. The maximum felt intensity was estimated at VIII (Heavily damaging) to IX (Destructive) on the European macroseismic scale, and it is the worst earthquake in Croatia in the last 140 years. More than 30 people were saved from the rubble, 8 persons lost their life (including a 13-year-old girl) while 36 injured persons were hospitalized.

Since the initial strong earthquakes, the Petrinja area has been hit by more than 700 aftershocks, magnitudes ranging from 1.2 to 4.8 on the Richter scale, increasing fear and anxiety of citizens and contributing to further damage of houses and buildings. Earthquakes and aftershocks also affected the neighbouring counties, including the City of Zagreb, Zapresic and Karlovac.

There has been widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. So far, authorities have received more than 46,000 reports of damaged buildings. The initial assessment confirmed that there are at least 1,500 families near Sisak, Petrinja and Glina who have lost their homes as a result of the earthquake. 9 school buildings are unusable due to the severe damage, 12 are temporarily unusable and could be reconstructed, 12 are usable with certain parts of buildings still posing a risk and 23 school buildings are usable without limitations. Healthcare facilities in Petrinja and Glina are unsalvageable. To date, 2,045 people have been internally displaced and registered temporary addresses outside Sisak-Moslavina County. According to the last available data 487 persons, including 29 children (aged 1-15), are housed in collective shelters at 6 locations; two sites are quarantined due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For families who could not leave destroyed or damaged homes due to livestock farming, so far, 507 housing containers have been secured by both Government and private donations, while the demand for such mobile homes is estimated at 1,500. Due to interrupted electricity and water supply, in the first 2 weeks, food was distributed through volunteers’ initiatives, and now the state-owned company Pleter took over food preparation for the victims of the earthquake.

There is a concern that the current turmoil may lead to a surge of COVID-19 cases, with thousands of displaced and hundreds sheltered in government-organized accommodation or with families in crowded conditions. The earthquake and constant aftershocks caused strong emotional and physiological reactions for both, children and adults directly affected as well as a large population of people living in the surrounding areas. There is an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and acute stress reactions due to which most children and adults report insomnia, anxiety, and fear.