Caritas Internationalis launches an €880,000 appeal to help Caritas Croatia’s work in ensuring safe and dignified living conditions to people made homeless by a recent earthquake.
“The ground has been shaking every day since the original earthquake and people are living in constant fear and stress. A vast area of around 2000 square kilometres has been affected,” says Suzana Borko, deputy director of Caritas Croatia.
“Two hundred Caritas volunteers have been out delivering food and hygiene items to those affected since the earthquake happened. We’re now focusing on the long-term as we aim to help people rebuild their homes and communities.”
Caritas’ eight-month project will initially help up to 200 households by providing prefabricated container accommodation and financial and technical help so people can repair their homes.
“Many of those affected in rural areas want to stay near their crops and livestock so they are sleeping in barns, in their cars and in the ruins of their homes. Caritas Croatia will help them as they rebuild their homes and communities so they can live in safe and dignified conditions,” she says.
The 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck around 30 miles to the south of Zagreb on 29th December, between the towns of Petrinja, Sisak and Glina. It was the second earthquake in two days and the strongest in the area for 140 years.
Caritas’ response will focus on helping people in rural areas who risk being overlooked because of their geographical isolation.
Suzana Borko says that up to 90 percent of houses in villages between Petrinja and Glina have been damaged. One of the challenges is that houses have to be reassessed to see if they are inhabitable after each successive quake.
In spite of the challenges, she sees signs of hope and says, “At this challenging time we’ve seen a miraculous humanitarian response within our country, with many people sending food and clothes and construction items to the affected areas. Decent shelters and the rebuilding of homes are a primary focus for us and we will stick with these communities until we have achieved this.”