"Ten seconds of earthquake require a dozen years of reconstruction," Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, said on Tuesday in Petrinja, where he attended a session of the task force charged with reconstruction following a December 2020 quake which hit that area.
The task force “analyzed its activities,” state agency Hina said, as well as “the situation in the quake-hit region” six months after the earthquake.
Asked about deadlines for the reconstruction process, Plenkovic told reporters that “all the easier work will be completed as soon as possible,” by the start of the next winter heating season, but that the demanding structural reconstruction was going slow, “due to the need to deal with complex property rights.”
“Ten seconds of earthquake require a dozen years of reconstruction,” he said, adding that “it is not realistic to expect reconstruction to be fast after an earthquake as strong as the last one,” because “the relevant procedures take time” and the process of raising funds “is not easy either.”
Difficult to make promises, give deadlines
“It is difficult to make promises or give any deadlines, because if something is not implemented, it will turn out that I have made a false promise,” Plenkovic said.
He added that over the past six months 2,276 housing containers and mobile homes had been secured, as individual units or as parts of 12 container settlements, and that recently 930 portable air conditioners had been provided for mobile housing units without an air conditioner.
“A total of 867,100 meals have been distributed to earthquake victims and operational forces on the ground, and that job is gradually being taken over by local catering businesses,” Plenkovic said, adding that 154 damaged public, commercial and housing units had been removed so far.
Plenkovic also mentioned the government’s decisions to waive state-collected fees for residents in quake-hit areas, such as electricity bills, TV license fee, road tolls, and railway transports.
Plenkovic said that “a task force for the project of social-demographic revival and economic revitalization” of the Banija region had been formed, announcing closer cooperation with the newly-elected mayors and the county prefect to help fix the “huge material damage” caused by the earthquake in the years to come.