Croatian PM Plenkovic says government will do its best to help earthquake victims
"The aim was to provide more assistance than was the case after the first earthquake (in Zagreb) and to involve also the Central State Office for Housing Reconstruction to deal with reconstruction and housing issues in the government-assisted area under a 100% state funding scheme," Plenković said while presenting amendments that expand the law, originally intended for the City of Zagreb and Zagreb and Krapina-Zagorje counties, to apply also to Sisak-Moslavina and Karlovac counties, hit by a 6.2 magnitude quake at the end of last year.
"The government is ready to do its best to help people," he stressed.
Under the amendments, the state will cover all reconstruction costs in government-assisted areas while in other areas 60% of the costs would be covered by the state, 20% by county authorities, or by the state if those authorities cannot do it, while 20% would have to be contributed by property owners, but if they cannot afford it, the state will do so, however, it will put a lien on the property, the PM said.
"No one has to contribute anything right away. That is an important detail," he said, calling on MPs to try and reach a consensus that would secure a fair, long-lasting and sustainable solution.
He said that this was the last opportunity for a serious reconstruction and revitalisation of that part of Croatia, most of which is categorised as government-assisted.
The earthquake damage in Sisak-Moslavina, Karlovac and Zagreb counties is huge even though we still do not have a complete picture, Plenković said, noting that family houses had been damaged the most.
In Sisak-Moslavina County, applications have been submitted for the inspection of 36,617 buildings, 20,370 have been inspected and of them 2,575 are unusable while 4,212 are temporarily unusable. In Karlovac County, 804 buildings were reported, he said.
Plenković said that HRK 77 million had been collected through fund-raising campaigns and that more than HRK 40 million had been paid into the account of the Red Cross Croatia.
Referring to a speech by Bridge MP Marija Selak Raspudić who said Donja Stubica in Krapina-Zagorje County was in the same category as Petrinja in terms of the level of development, he said that she must have confused Donja Stubica with Gornja Stubica and explained that in Sisak-Moslavina County only the city of Sisak was in Group VI according to the development index.
Under the Regional Development Act, local government units that fall into groups I-IV have the status of government-assisted local government units.
Construction Minister Darko Horvat said that the state would fully finance reconstruction in government-assisted areas and that funds would be secured from the state budget, the EU Solidarity Fund, through World Bank loans and from other sources.
The amended law will apply also to areas that could later be struck by an earthquake, he said. ■