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IIC Croatia calls for high standards in post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb

(Photo: HINA/Damir SENČAR)

ZAGREB, April 13 (Hina) – The Croatian branch of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) has joined the initiative for high standards in overcoming the consequences of the March 22 earthquake that struck Zagreb and its environs.

Concerned about daily news about incompetence in handling the heritage damaged in the earthquake, the national branch of the IIC has joined the initiative launched by architects and art historians to establish a coordinating body for the post-earthquake restoration of Zagreb, the Vice President of IIC Croatia, Ksenija Skaric, announced last week.

Skaric noted that the bill on the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb had been criticised by many specialists, primarily due to the lack of consultation with relevant professions.

The IIC Croatia group also pointed out the “scandalous photographs of architectural decorations dumped at Zagreb’s landfills”, emphasising the importance of their recovery, or at least of their documentation.

They think that fragments of architectural decoration, as well as other objects of historic value, should be stored in depots, if only in makeshift ones. They also underscored the urgency of implementing measures to preserve buildings and objects of cultural importance from secondary damage and setting up a dedicated restoration and conservation database.

The database would include international contacts (experts and institutions), foreign examples (plans and programmes for restoration and reconstruction, legislative frameworks, guidelines for the reconstruction of areas and individual buildings), domestic examples (plans and programmes for restoration and reconstruction, guidelines for the reconstruction of areas and individual buildings), and archival data on Zagreb (studies, articles, research projects and books).

Bill on post-quake reconstruction of Zagreb will be complex

The bill on the reconstruction of Zagreb after the March 22 earthquake will be complex because buildings in the centre of the capital are more than 100 years old, and specialists in all relevant areas are involved, Construction Minister Predrag Stromar said in a Croatian television current affairs programme on Monday morning.

“We must not and will not leave our citizens alone and that is most important,” Stromar said, adding that the bill would be fast-tracked through Parliament.

He said that the Croatian Chamber of Civil Engineers, the Croatian Chamber of Architects, the University of Zagreb Faculty of Civil Engineering, as well as machine and electrical engineers, were involved in the preparation of the bill.

Asked about the time frame of the reconstruction process, Stromar said that a lot of residential and public buildings and historical landmarks had been damaged and that it would take a lot of time to repair them. He said that healthcare and educational institutions and residential buildings were a priority.

Asked about sources of funding, the minister said that these were being discussed and that first, it was necessary to determine how much the reconstruction would cost. He said he counted on funding from the state budget, the City of Zagreb budget, the County of Zagreb budget, the World Bank, EU funds, donations and friendly countries.

“How the money will be spent is for the bill to define. Transparency is of paramount importance,” Stromar said.

He said that intense work was underway to clear all the rubble, expressing hope that this task would be completed soon. In this context, he praised the fire service for a job well done.

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