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VIDEO: The day after severe storms hit Croatia

A car underwater in Zagreb last night (Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL)

ZAGREB, July 25 (Hina) – Severe storms which hit most of Croatia on Friday night had firefighters responding to over 100 calls, the Croatian Firefighting Association said on Saturday.

Heavy rains with strong winds struck the northern coastal area of Rijeka, Opatija and Crikvenica as well as the islands of Krk and Cres, with local firefighters responding to ten calls to remove fallen trees and branches, pump out water, repair roofs, and clear roads.

Situation worst in Zagreb

In the flooded capital, firefighters responded to over 100 calls to pump out water from numerous buildings and underpasses, clear drains and roads as well as remove fallen trees from them.

While pumping out water from one flat, a 53-year-old firefighter lost his life despite a quick response from paramedics. 

“One young life was lost during an intervention, we express our sincere condolences to the family. We will visit them tomorrow,” Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic said at a press conference on Saturday, before adding.

“I can not drink the rain. It happened and it will not happen again in the next 10 years. The earthquake, COVID, and this rain. Obviously God is begrudging us for something. There was heavy rain, the infrastructure could not cope with it. More needs to be cleaned, but that amount of water that fell could not be swallowed. Firefighters had more than 200 interventions. We will help people and meet them, the City will help. Citizens do not have to worry,” Bandic added.

The mayor said that spring and summer showers are a normal occurrence, but that more than 80 litres of rain per square meter could not be predicted.

Children’s hospital in Zagreb flooded

Health Minister Vili Beros on Saturday visited the children’s hospital in downtown Zagreb which was flooded during the storm, saying the costs of dealing with the damage would be covered by the hospital, the city, and his ministry.

Hospital director Goran Roic told Hina the biggest damage was done to the pharmacy in the basement, where the cafeteria, locker room, and radiology ward were also flooded.

Other hospital services are working normally, he said.

Visiting the hospital, Minister Beros said the hospital pharmacy stored very expensive drugs so the damage was yet to be estimated.

“However, the provision of healthcare is not undermined at this moment. But the corona crisis, the earthquake, and now flooding have only highlighted the need to build a new national children’s hospital. Many only talked about it, but this government has recognised this need and included this idea into its programme for the coming period, and I as minister will do my best so that it is realised.”

A feasibility study is being done for the Blato location and when it is done, we will see whether it’s the best location, Beros said.

As for the financing of the new hospital, he said everything would be done to find the fastest solution. “Whether it’s EU funds is difficult to say because the procedure is long, and we can now see how long the feasibility study is taking,” Beros said, adding that “we are also looking at other financing possibilities for the construction of these health facilities that we urgently need.”

Beros said he had talked with the directors of most of Zagreb’s hospitals and that none had reported any major damage after last night’s storm. 

In Zagreb County, firefighters responded to 15 calls, mostly to pump out water from buildings, but also to clean drains and remove fallen trees and branches.

In Varazdin County, firefighters responded to ten calls, also to pump out water and remove fallen trees and branches, including from power lines.

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