Petrinja, Sisak, Glina. Two months after the violent 6.2 magnitude earthquake, there is no longer any rubble in the streets of these little towns south of Zagreb, in Croatia, but many people are still homeless during the coldest period of the year. As often happens in these circumstances, the immediate momentum of solidarity has gradually tapered off, and although there is no lack of food, clothing and medicines, aid for long-term reconstruction is now absolutely necessary.
The Order of Malta’s ambassador to Croatia, Michael Dzeba, is moving in this direction. Since the day after the earthquake he has been in contact with the mayor of Petrinja, and last week he visited this region, where over two thousand rural homes have been destroyed, to assess the first results of the aid.
Encouraged by generous donations, the Order of Malta has been able to count on cooperation with the Croatian Caritas and the diocese of Sisak, as well as with the Austrian association “Bauern helfen Bauern”. Since 1995, this association has enabled more than a thousand families in the region to rebuild their farms destroyed by war – or by the earthquake – with new housing. “Their contribution was fundamental,” explained the ambassador, who has just returned to Germany. “Thanks to their experience, we are now able to build single-family homes in just a week.”
These are wooden houses on two floors, circa 55 square metres each, with both external and internal wooden walls and very thick cavities, essential for good thermal insulation. It takes three days to build the foundations and five days for the rest of the building. The professionals are flanked by volunteers. The cost of each house is around 12,000 euro, but they are built to last.
The first of these houses was inaugurated and blessed by the Bishop of Sisak, Mons. Vlado Kosic, in the presence of the head of the Croatian Caritas, Fabijan Svalina, and ambassador Dzeba. The aim is to build homes for those requesting them, based on a list drawn up by the local authorities together with the diocese, the Serbian Orthodox Church and Croatian Caritas. It is hoped that a few dozen can already be delivered by next summer.
To contribute to the Petrinja reconstruction mission, a donation can be made to the Order of Malta’s bank account in Germany:
Malteser Hilfsdienst e.v.
IBAN: DE10 3706 0120 1201 2000 12
For: Earthquake Croatia
or to the Order of Malta’s bank account in Austria:
IBAN: AT65 2011 1800 8087 0800
Para: Terremoto Croacia