Living Lab Sesvete holding strong after powerful earthquake

Living Lab Sesvete holding strong after powerful earthquake

26 March 2020

On Sunday morning, Zagreb’s residents woke up to the Croatian capital’s most powerful earthquake in 140 years. Widespread images circulated in the media of locals pouring out into the snowy streets in the early hours in their pyjamas, ironically just as coronavirus social distancing measures had started to be enforced. Tragically, a 15 year old girl lost her life in the earthquake and a maternity hospital was badly affected, with mothers having to hold their new-borns outside on the freezing streets. With several more people injured and huge damage done in particular to historical buildings, all amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is facing major challenges, and doing what it can to tackle them head-on. 

Among the areas to experience the heart of the 5.3 magnitude earthquake was the neighbourhood of Sesvete, a Living Lab for nature-based solutions in the EC Horizon 2020 funded project proGIreg. As explained by Marijo Spajic, from local NGO Zelene I Plave Sesevete, “Sesvete is holding strong, even though it was at the epicentre of the earthquake – the ground still keeps shaking all the time, which is not really pleasant, but we have to take care of the pandemic now.” Together with a local company and support from the Croatian Student Assembly, the proGIreg team is using its 3D printer to help produce face protection masks for medical staff in local hospitals. Sesvete is an industrial area located at the foothills of the Medvednica mountain, with a vibrant, young and entrepreneurial community.

Despite living in uncertain times, where things we used to accept as the norm are no longer, community spirit and global solidarity is more important than ever – even if we have to keep our physical distance. After receiving messages of support from international project partners, Iva Bedenko and Matija Vuger, City of Zagreb said “Thank you very much for these kind words in these moments.” They also returned their own messages of support back to their project partners.


More local information on the earthquake is available directly from Zagreb (in Croatian) on the city’s news page.

Zagreb has set up an earthquake relief fund (details available in English) to help those affected by the earthquake.

Images: Sesvete/City of Zagreb & Local school, close to the epicentre / Marijo Spajic

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 innovation action programme under grant agreement no. 776528. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the proGIreg project and in no way reflects the views of the European Union.