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Vedrana Simicevic

Jagor Koprek and two unidentified volunteers remove a damaged chimney above Vlaska Street in the center of Zagreb, Croatia. Koprek is one of the organizers of the volunteer movement to help clean up dangerous debris from city rooftops after the March 22 earthquake that rocked the country's capital. [Photo] Ivica Sturlan

Climbers, cavers, high-rise workers help clean debris from rooftops after Zagreb earthquake

On March 22, a Sunday morning, Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb was in the end of their second week of lockdown to address the COVID-19 pandemic when citizens awoke to 5.5-magnitude earthquake that was soon followed by an almost similarly strong aftershock. In the aftermath, toppled chimneys and dangerous debris crowded the rooftops of so many buildings that official emergency crews quickly became overwhelmed. Seeing the desperate need and an opportunity to lend their rope-access skills, approximately one hundred Croatian climbers, cavers and high-rise workers have spent more than three weeks clearing rooftops. President of the Republic Zoran Milanovic recently thanked the group for its work.