On the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit Croatia’s Sisak-Moslavina County Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic visited Petrinja and met protests over the slow pace of reconstruction.

Croatia PM Faces Protests During Earthquake Anniversary Visit

Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenkovic speaking to media during his visit in Petrinje on December 29, 2021. Photo: Andrej Plenkovic/Twitter

On the first anniversary of the earthquake that hit Croatia, the Croatian government and the Civil Protection Directorate presented their key achievements and plans in the post-earthquake reconstruction of the Banija region in Petrinja, adding that over a billion kuna had been invested in mitigating the consequences of the quakes, Croatian news agency HINA reported.

However, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was met with protests in Petrinja, the epicentre of the earthquake, as he was walking to Mass. Local citizens booed and shouted: “We want reconstruction!” and even hit him with a snowball, news outlet N1 reported.

Asked to comment on the protests and the dissatisfaction, Plenkovic replied that reconstruction “is underway and will speed up in the next year”. The snowball “wasn’t a problem”, he added.

Plenkovic and other ministers accompanying him entered the church, while the protesters stayed outside. The church bell tolled at 12.19 to mark the exact time of the earthquake. Even though the government claims locals are satisfied with the pace of post-earthquake reconstruction, many complain of a slow and bureaucratic process. The government still hasn’t started building replacement homes for those who lost their homes in the earthquake.

President Zoran Milanović also visited the area of Sisak-Moslavina Countym starting in Sisak, where he met earthquake victims housed in temporary container homes. “It’s been one year since the earthquake, things are going slow. A lot of things should have been done by now,” he told the media, Dnevnik.hr reported.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale hit the Petrinja area, south of the capital, Zagreb, at 12.19 on December 29, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said.

It was the largest quake to hit the country in 2020, with media reporting significant damage close to the epicentre. A minute earlier, the same area had been hit by another earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2.

The mayor of Petrinja, Darinko Dumbovic, then told N1 TV that “half of the city had been destroyed”.

The quakes had their epicentre close to another one which happened a day earlier, December 28, with a magnitude of 5, which had its epicentre some 12 kilometres south-west of Sisak, 60 kilometres south of Zagreb, near Petrinja.

According to media, quakes also caused damage in Zagreb, disrupting telephone connections and electricity supplies.

There was a series of serious earthquakes in Croatia in 2020. On March 22, three large quakes shook Zagreb – the most powerful in 140 years –  toppling one of the two spires on the capital’s cathedral and damaging thousands of buildings. Several dozen people were injured.

Twelve months after the quakes hit the Sisak-Moslavina County, many of those whose homes were damaged still do not know when they will be rebuilt, and face a winter living in rented flats, hostels or even containers.

Source link: balkaninsight.com