ZAGREB, Dec 3 (Hina) – The reconstruction of Zagreb and surrounding areas following the March 22 earthquake will cost HRK 42 billion (Ђ5.6bn) and will require 100,000 workers annually, the dean of the Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering, Stjepan Lakusic, said on Thursday.
Speaking in a Croatian Radio programme in the morning, Lakusic stressed the need to reskill people to ensure a sufficient number of workers for reconstruction projects, adding that 2021 would be a year of adjustment and that the reconstruction process was running late.
Marija Cagalj, the vice-president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) for construction, transport and communications, expressed confidence that Croatians who had left the country in search of work would return when they saw how much work there would be over the next 10 years. She said it was important to ensure funding and invite these people to return.
Physical Planning and Construction Minister Darko Horvat says that preparations were underway to enable the start of the reconstruction as soon as possible and that a systematic approach over a period of ten years will result in a more beautiful and earthquake-proof city and environs.
He informed the conference that the collection of applications for reconstruction had started and that a special department has been established in the ministry for this purpose.
Horvat recalled that an estimated cost of the reconstruction of damaged buildings is about HRK 42 billion while current available funds amount to HRK 12 billion. These initial funds come from the EU solidarity fund and a World Bank loan of $200 million.
Soon a statute and work organisation will be adopted for the Zagreb Reconstruction Fund which will equip teams to supervise the implementation of the post-quake reconstruction, said the minister.
The head of the fund, Damir Vandjelic, told reporters that there would be work for everyone during the reconstruction. He informed that last year the total revenues of the construction sector amounted to HRK 18 billion, while 3-4 billion kuna is expected to be invested in reconstruction projects annually.
HGK President Luka Burilovic sees this as an opportunity to bail out Croatia’s construction sector and the economy in general. “Construction has pulled Croatia out of crises and it can do that again,” he said.