EARTHQUAKE + PANDEMIC = SOLIDARITY

What a time to be alive? It is truly hard to explain and to understand the circumstances we are living in now. Our lives changed drastically in a very short period of time.


On Sunday, 22.3.2020, the capital of Croatia was shook by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake. The citizens of Zagreb and its suburbs ran out on the streets. After two strong eartquakes, the buildings started to fall apart. Most of the them, especially in central Zagreb, are unsafe for living. Everyone stood outside in pyjamas and coats and waited for further instructions from the authorities. We couldn't gather and stand close to each other due to the Covid-19 pandemic which made the situation even harder. We couldn't stay in, but it was definitely risky to stay out as well. While trying to have a conversation, speaking loudly, standing across the street, about the conditions of our apartments, we soon became aware that we should not go back in there. I asked some of them what will they do now and who will they call. Most of them said that they don't have anyone.





45 minutes later, I drove to the highschool playground. While I was sitting in my warm car, I watched three old ladies in front of me who were obviously freezing. I wanted to invite them badly, but I knew I would put them in risk as I am in self-isolation since Wednesday, after coming back from London. It was a very sad scenery and a painful situation.

A few hours later, the authorities announced that the ones who had to be evacuated from their apartments and have nowhere to go, would be placed in the student dorms. The statics engineers are working closely with army, police, firemen and volounteers to asses the damage and danger. But after all, we are positive that we will not be able to come back to our homes for some time.

Zagreb is still shaking. The ones whose homes are completely destroyed have already moved, but some are still unsure and are waiting for engineers. They are cold, as they had to turn off the gas until further notice. Their immunity systems might become weak. It leaves them in higher risk again, especially for Corona virus, which appears to be easily transmitted.

Covid-19 is a virus which is completely changing our systems, economy, lifestyles and social interaction. The world is transformed and it is the most important topic in the media. We are adapting in order to prevent. Unfortunately, the newly confirmed cases are showing patients with new syptoms or no symptoms at all. The only fact we know is the one that it spreads quickly and it stays for hours and days on some surfaces and materials. The only thing we can do is distance ourselves from others and limit ourselves to our homes. While most of the people are trying to find answers in conspiracy theories, it's important to remember that we also have to be present and stay aware of the reality we are facing now. There is no clear proof or validated facts which can approve or deny any of those theories, which might be completely false, or partially true, which sometimes tends to be even worse.

Therefore, the only thing we can do now is live day by day, and make sure we and everyone around us are safe and have everything they need. Even though we can not approach to each other closer than two meters, we can still phone, text or make video calls. Making sure everyone has the help they need and sense of community should be our top priorities now.

After earthquake shock and pandemic, there will be a crisis, but history shows many examples of mankind suffering and living through various disasters. The only way to rebuild it is by doing it together. In tragic and hard moments like this, citizens of Zagreb realised how important it is to show the ones who suffered the most by the earthquake, the ones who lost their houses and apartments, that they are NOT alone. In just two days, five Croatian girls who live abroad started a fundraising campaign and have already raised 150 thousand euros, with donations coming from all around Croatia and many other countries. Meanwhile, people are donating clothes, blankets, electric heating, food and everything they can to the families. Some of them immediately offered their houses and apartments. And still offering.

We went back to the basics, to the most important things and people. After all, maybe all of this teches us a lesson about solidarity. Hopefully we won't forget it soon after things go back to 'normal'.


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