Krapina-Zagorje County has declared Wednesday a day of mourning following the death of six elderly people in a fire at an elder care facility in Andraševec.
The private nursing home facility had a permit to operate but was found to be in violation of a number of codes, including housing three times the number of residents it was permitted to take in. The Ministry of Social Welfare said such conduct was unacceptable, but an adviser to the minister, Zvjezdana Bogdanović, admitted to Croatian Radio that it had a problem with overseeing these types of facilities.
"We are aware of the fact that with only 10 inspectors we cannot meet the needs of the entire country. The critical problem is also a lack of human resources who are qualified for this job," she said in an interview.
Citizen's Ombudsman Lora Vidović said she would be following the situation very closely to see if there will be enough political will to make significant changes to the system following this tragedy.
"They are talking about making very swift changes, but we'll see how quickly and to what effect those changes can make a difference. Under the current law it is clear that the Ministry is tasked with oversight and that there can be unscheduled inspections, so everything that is required is actually there. The issue is resources and implementation."
Six elderly people were killed at the nursing home on Saturday when a fire broke out at one of the buildings. The remaining residents are being transferred to other facilities. Inspectors are on the ground looking into the cause of the fire and conditions at the nursing home.