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Negligence in post-war reconstruction in Sisak County to be investigated

earthquake rocks croatia

Petrinja (Screenshot/Croatian Red Cross)

ZAGREB, 4 January (Hina) – The Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) will instruct the police to investigate suspicions of possible negligence and omissions during the post-war reconstruction of buildings which were demolished in the 29 December quake in Sisak-Moslavina County.

The prosecutorial authorities said on Monday that USKOK would immediately instruct the police to conduct an investigation after some of the houses, renovated after the war, collapsed in the quake.

Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said that it was necessary to look into why some houses were poorly reconstructed after the 1991-1995 Homeland War, adding that he did not have more details.

Speaking to the press, he said “it’s necessary to look into how and why that happened, who did the job, who supervised, who issued the final certificates of occupancy.”

Plenkovic said that at the moment he did not have more details and that he would ask Construction Minister Darko Horvat and the state secretary in the State Reconstruction and Housing Office, Nikola Mazar.

“It’s not good that there are buildings which should be stronger than they are. Everything that should, will be looked into,” Mazar said, regardless of responsibility. “The reconstruction that Croatia carried out was a big process. If some buildings were not built up to code, that should be looked into.”

Mazar said more than 156,000 family houses were reconstructed after the Homeland War, with works lasting from 1995 to 2000 and over 150 companies involved.

“Everything was done under the Reconstruction Act, the Building Act. There are documents on contractors, supervisors, architects, owners, users… There were certain guarantees and deadlines,” he said.

As for the role of incumbent Sisak-Moslavina County prefect Ivo Zinic, who was in charge of reconstruction in the area in question in 1995, Plenkovic said he was sure Zinic could provide all the necessary explanations.

More than 1,800 buildings unusable after quake

Horvat said on Monday that so far an estimated 1,800 buildings had been assessed as unusable after the earthquake.

He recalled that the government had set aside 120 million kuna as emergency aid.

Horvat added that the European Commission had given the green light for re-allocating to Sisak and Karlovac counties a part of the HRK 5.1 billion from the Solidarity Fund, which has already been earmarked for dealing with the aftermath of the 22 March earthquake in Zagreb.

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that the government’s special account for addressing the aftermath of the Petrinja quake had so far received HRK 54.3 million.

Maric said that international financial institutions had been engaged in offering financial aid.

Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said that over 500 hotel rooms were made available for the temporary accommodation for people who were left without their homes in the quake, and currently more than 300 persons were using this possibility.

The tourism sector has donated 106 mobile homes an 11 camp homes, she added.

Economy Minister Tomislav Coric said that the national power provider HEP had established that the damage caused to the electricity network in the quake-hit area was at least 150 million kuna.

The Hrvatske Vode water supply operator has assessed a preliminary damage on river embankments in the amount between 70-100 million kuna.

Transport Minister Oleg Butkovic said that the damage caused to roads and bridges was estimated at HRK 80 million.

Rail lines were not damaged, but the Sisak Railway Station suffered serious damage.

Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic said that 264 local farms, mainly cattle-breeding ones, had reported damage.

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