UNICEF Croatia Humanitarian Situation Report No. 5 (Earthquake) - 3 February 2021

News and Press Release
Originally published


Key highlights

  • Following the most devastating earthquakes in the last 140 years resulting in eight casualties and widespread material damage, the Government declared a state of disaster for Sisak-Moslavina County and parts of Zagreb and Karlovac Counties.

  • Over 3,200 inspected buildings have been assessed as unusable due to major damage, and more than 5,100 buildings were marked as temporarily unusable. It is estimated that about 15, 000-20,000 people lived in those buildings.

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

  • UNICEF in close partnership with the social welfare system and through an implementing partner deployed four mobile teams to affected areas to provide mental health and psychosocial support to foster care families and other families at heightened risk in Glina, Petrinja and Sisak.

  • The UNICEF Country Office in Croatia and the Slovenia National Committee for UNICEF launched emergency fundraising appeals and raised USD 401,000 so far in 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 numerous aftershocks, magnitudes ranging from 1.2 to 4.8 on the Richter scale, increasing fear and anxiety of residents 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. During the past week, seismic activity was reduced, bringing some tranquillity to the affected population.

There has been widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. So far, authorities have received more than 46,000 reports of damaged buildings. Static engineers have inspected more than half of the facilities where damage was reported. Over 3,200 inspected buildings were assessed as unusable due to major damage, and more than 5,100 buildings were marked as temporarily unusable. It is estimated that about 15,000-20,000 thousand people lived in those buildings. Nine school buildings are unusable due to the severe damage, 12 are temporarily unusable and should 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. The Civil Protection Headquarters received a total of 2,230 requests for temporary accommodation of persons who lost their homes, of which 880 were priority requests. Approximately 60 families are currently temporarily provided with housing in state-owned apartments, approx. 130 people. So far, 928 housing containers have been secured by both Government and private donations at 6 locations, while the demand for such mobile homes is estimated at 1,500. According to the last available data 487 persons, including 29 children (aged 1-15), are currently housed in collective shelters at six locations; two sites are quarantined due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the large number of residents who are accommodated in temporary shelters, accelerated vaccination against coronavirus began in the area affected by the quake. More than 2,500 people have been vaccinated so far.

The earthquake and the constant aftershocks caused strong emotional and physiological reactions in 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.