Croatian capital awaits organized reconstruction one year after major earthquake

2021-03-22 14:06:14 GMT2021-03-22 22:06:14(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

ZAGREB, March 22 (Xinhua) -- With a concert starting at 6:24 a.m. local time (0524 GMT), the Croatian Music Institute marked on Monday the first anniversary of the 5.3-magnitude earthquake that hit the capital Zagreb, the strongest in the city in the last 140 years.

"The concert is a reminder of that tragic event. Artists sent a strong message that art and music are louder than an earthquake," Croatian Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek told the national television.

Zagreb was jolted by the major earthquake on March 22, 2020, when the city was in a coronavirus lockdown. The quake, which killed a 15-year-old-girl and injured more than 20 people, caused severe damage to the city, especially its historic core.

The quake happened at 6:24 a.m. local time and was followed by a strong aftershock. The direct economic losses of the quake is estimated at 86 billion kuna (13.5 billion U.S. dollars), which is equal to 60 percent of the Croatian state budget.

A year after the first earthquake, the city ruins are still visible and reconstruction hasn't begun.

Darko Horvat, the Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets, told local media on Sunday that organized reconstruction in the city should start in June.

He said that the process of reconstruction is complex and proceeding slowly.

"If we want to use money approved by the European Commission fairly and in line with the strict rules of the European Commission, then the procedure must be followed," Horvat said. The Commission allocated 683.7 million euros (760 million U.S. dollars) from the EU (European Union) Solidarity Fund to help the rebuilding efforts after the earthquake.

In September 2020, the Croatian parliament adopted a law on rebuilding the city and its suburbs.

According to the law, the state will provide 60 percent of the funds for the reconstruction of the damaged buildings, 20 percent will be provided by the City of Zagreb and the local community, while 20 percent will be from private owners.

On Dec. 29, a more powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit central Croatia, about 50 km southeast of Zagreb, claiming several more lives and devastating towns near the epicenter. The quake was felt intensely in Zagreb and caused further damage to the city. Enditem