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Earthquake in Croatia

At the very end of 2020, on 29 December, an earthquake hit Croatian Sisak-Moslavina county. A region so close to Zagreb, yet almost invisible for tourists who come to Croatia, and unfortunately, for the locals alike. 6.2. magnitude earthquake brought immense destruction. This is a rural region with so many tiny villages where a lot of people don’t have much and live content in modesty, not even aware of the consumer society. Up until a few days ago, they had their little corner on this Earth and that’s all they needed. That corner is gone now.

The earthquake shook the whole country. People who were more than 150 kilometers away from the epicenter ran outside of their homes believing that the earthquake was happening right there – it was that strong. After experiencing another strong earthquake in Zagreb this March (5.5 magnitude Richter scale), the whole city of Zagreb was petrified and completely caught of guard – just as things settled down for us, this strong tremor started, and it was much stronger than “our” earthquake in spring.

It might have been the fact that the whole country felt it and it was scary even if we were far away. When we all found out that the region of Banija or Banovina was hit, a sense of despair came over us. How on Earth is this fair? You’d think, if there is any force that decides on people’s destinies, any luck at all, that region would be spared because it has been through too much and it hasn’t completely recovered since the last war.

I don’t know what precisely happened to all of us in Croatia. Was our own fear the trigger? Or did it help us understand what the people were going through? Was it the sadness and the sorrow, the helplessness against such force of nature? Is it some kind of a wicked guilt trip because we haven’t done more as a society to help the development of the region in the past? Or is it really as simple as letting the human part of us really take over, leaving all the unnecessary thoughts behind and just focusing on finding the ways to help?

Whatever the reason is, in the midst of this tragedy, while it took a few days for the public services to start functioning, regular people started pouring in to help one way or another. It has been a week since the earthquake and we’re still focused on finding an opportunity to do what anyone of us can. The first days after the earthquake were literally saved by common people like you and me. The country was united in finding the means to help, but it wasn’t just Croatia. Seeing the quick reactions and help coming from our neighbour countries… receiving messages from across the oceans, concerned friends trying to find ways to help – this has all been simply humbling.

Days are drifting by, but let us not loose the willingness to help. The towns of Glina, Petrinja, Sisak, Hrvatska Kostajnica and dozens of surrounding villages will still need help for a long long time.

The cover photo shows a street in the town of Glina. First of all, you might notice the destroyed buildings that will take months to repair. But there’s another curious thing… if we compare this to the photos three days after the less strong Zagreb earthquake in March: this photo, taken just three days after the earthquake, shows the clean streets as if nothing ever happened. I think that’s it: the fact that the people of the region take care of themselves very well. In the midst of their own tragedy they started doing the best they can to fix what they can and clean what they can. The fact they would never ask for help probably, on an unconscious level, dragged all of us there to support them in any way possible.

With floods alert and snow in the forecast, let’s find a little way to be there even in the months to come. When the institutions start functioning, there won’t be a need for hundreds of volunteers in the region. But action will still be needed.

Solidarna Foundation, together with the Fund 5.5, that we trust for their transparent help to several causes, including the Zagreb earthquake this March, has made it very easy to donate for their emergency campaign through their website. Please, consider making a donation if you can. This is the link with info in Croatian, English and German: https://solidarna.hr/hitna-donatorska-akcija-zaklade…/

With love from shaken and heartbroken Croatia!