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Malteser International supports post-earthquake response in Croatia

The earthquake caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure in Petrinja. Photo: Malteser

Malteser International has offered to support emergency response efforts in Croatia after a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in the last weeks.

On Wednesday, Croatia’s Seismological Survey registered an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale with the epicenter near Petrinja, southeast of the country’s capital city Zagreb. This comes a week after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the same region on December 29, 2020, killing seven people and injuring scores. This was followed by two other earthquakes a day after.

Thousands of families, vulnerable and elderly people have lost their homes, many of them now forced to take shelter in schools, barracks, garages, wooden sheds, and tents.

“We are deeply shocked by the loss of life and the terrible destruction caused by the earthquakes. Malteser International expresses its sincere condolences to the citizens of Croatia,” Secretary General Clemens Graf von Mirbach-Harff said.

In response to the earthquake, Malteser International has allocated the sum of 20,000 euros for emergency assistance. The organization, through the German and Austrian associations of the Order of Malta, Caritas in Croatia and local partners, is supporting the provision of shelter for people affected in the disaster.

“Petrinja will be experiencing winter until at least March. Therefore, it is urgent that the people receive immediate assistance,” said Graf von Mirbach-Harff. “After listening to the needs outlined by the affected communities, we and our partners will procure winter-proof shelters which can be erected within a very short time.”

Further complicating the disaster is not only the freezing temperatures but also the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. More than 216,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Croatia, with more than 4,000 dead. The earthquakes caused widespread damage to infrastructure, including the region’s healthcare facilities. Two hospitals have had to be evacuated, even though they had been working to capacity due to the pandemic. The disasters have put additional strain on the already burdened health system.

“COVID-19 is challenging every capacity and coordination mechanism to respond to disasters,” said Graf von Mirbach-Harff. “Despite these challenges, we will be supporting our Croatian brothers and sisters in this difficult time while ensuring that COVID-19 protection measures are observed during the operation.”

Note to editors:
Clemens Graf von Mirbach-Harff, Secretary General of Malteser International, is available for interviews.

Contact information:
Katharina Kiecol
+49 (0) 221 9822-7181

We are urgently calling for donations to support our response.


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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