Devastating earthquake that hit Zagreb in March changed the lives of the capital’s residents significantly – in addition to the tragic loss of young life, it has caused severe damage to residential buildings and houses, leaving some completely unusable. Soon after, Citizens’ Initiative Ilica filed a complaint to the Ombudswoman Lora Vidović expressing their discontent with the response of authorities and emphasising that lack of their coordination left residents of Zagreb to manage on their own, especially those who suffered the most. They stated it violates citizens’ rights to private and family life, home and correspondence, as stipulated by the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Therefore, the Ombudswoman asked the Mayor of Zagreb to reply to these claims, as well as to provide information on all activities undertaken to address the most urgent problems faced by earthquake victims, including renovation process and normalisation of daily life. Requested information also refer to the number of city owned apartments provided for housing of citizens who had to leave their homes, including the criteria for their allocation, as well as to specific measures taken to protect older persons, single-parent families and those with small children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Citizens also point out the lack of information on recovery plans and safety risk prevention, emphasising they don’t know whom they can turn to for answers. This indicates authorities should improve their communication and provide instructions, guidelines and all relevant information on competent bodies, including their contacts, which must be easily accessible and available online, as well as at the premises of local community and city offices, shops, media, etc.