Croatia: Potential COVID-19 spread in temporary shelters concerns in aftermath of killer earthquake

Zagreb/Budapest, 30 December 2020 – Red Cross teams have mobilised across Croatia to help hundreds of people hit by yesterday’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the latest in a series of deadly quakes to have struck the country this year.

Croatian Red Cross spokesperson Katerina Zoric said Red Cross personnel have been on hand at the epicentre Petrinja since it hit around midday yesterday, killing reportedly seven people and injuring more than 26.

More than 100 trained Red Cross staff and volunteers are helping with evacuations, providing first aid for the injured, helping clear the rubble and set up tents for displaced people,” she said.

“We have been working through the night to distribute aid to people affected in Petrinja and in the surrounding villages of Hrašnik, Cross Oak, Oak and Cepeliš. We have supplied food, water, warm tea, blankets and jackets to people forced to remain outside. We have helped with the evacuation of a nursing home and will continue to be in the field wherever help is needed.”

The Croatian Red Cross is collecting cash and in-kind donations through its website to support the people affected.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Regional Director for Europe, Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen confirms that the organisation is supporting Croatian Red Cross efforts.

We are concerned about the effect of on-going earthquakes on these communities. People in the quake-affected areas are already suffering mental distress after a powerful 5.4 earthquake struck Zagreb in March this year, damaging buildings and structures and the recent quakes are only compounding understandable anxiety and uncertainty,” she said.

We are also worried that the current turmoil may lead to a surge of COVID-19 cases in Croatia. Hundreds of people who were forced to leave their homes, are accommodated in communal buildings and tents, while others are seeking shelter in different parts of the country, increasing the risk of transmission. The Croatian Red Cross is doing an outstanding job to ensure that COVID-19 protection measures are observed during the emergency operation.”

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