The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated to assist Croatia in the aftermath of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, following a request for assistance from Croatian authorities on 29 December.
Today, Vice-President of the European Commission Dubravka Šuica and the European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič arrived in Zagreb, Croatia where they met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. Together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior Davor Božinović they will then visit the hardest hit town Petrinja.
Commissioner Lenarčič said, “I arrived to Croatia today to assure the Croatian people that the EU stands in full solidarity with them. Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre will continue to mobilise immediate assistance. I am very thankful to countries that have immediately rushed to Croatia’s help in these difficult times. My thoughts are with all those affected, especially those who have lost loved ones, and with the brave first responders on the scene who are doing their best to help people in need.”
Vice-President Šuica added, “2020 has been a very difficult year. As we mourn the dead and plan the reconstruction, we need to also learn lessons to mitigate the impact of these tragedies, where possible. Even though nature cannot be controlled, we can study how and where people live; we need to apply what we are learning in my portfolio on demography to help people to take maximum advantage of the opportunities available to them. At the moment I am developing the commission’s vision and work for rural areas, but I am also making preparations to propose initiatives in urban environments. The situation I am witnessing today will inform me in all aspects of my work for the rest on my mandate.”
The earthquake, which hit the central part of the country, has killed several people and caused extensive damage to numerous homes and infrastructure. In an immediate response, the European Commission helped mobilise assistance from various Member States to be dispatched swiftly to the affected areas.
Immediate assistance offered by Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey includes much-needed housing containers, winterised tents, sleeping bags, beds, and electrical heaters.
In addition, the EU’s Copernicus emergency management service is helping to provide damage assessment maps of the affected areas.
The European Union’s 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in regular contact with Croatian authorities to closely monitor the situation and channel further EU assistance.