With the multi-media program "Bar in April 1979" in the Castle of King Nikola last night, the Municipality of Bar paid respects to the victims of the catastrophic April Earthquake in 1979 and to all the heroes of the city's renewal that began right after the main impact on 15th April, precisely 40 years ago.
Moderator of the panel "Memories that Warn", journalist and publicist Zeljko Milovic pointed out that it was a time when "fear was the primary human emotion" in this area, but also the time of the heroism in which Bar "recovered incredibly fast, with the solidarity of the whole Yugoslavia".
"Josip Broz Tito visited the coastal zone on the same day, urged the people in Yugoslavia to help reconstruct the demolished, and no one could refuse him. While I was watching the video recordings from that time, two sentences were specially imprinted in my memory: then five-year-old Dragana Ostojic described the earthquake moments by saying she thought the day was collapsing, while an older lady in Crmnica, who lost her family, said that the one who grieves only for their house after the earthquake is a happy man," Milovic said.
Stressing that "today it is impossible for us to see what we have experienced", the vice-president of the Bar Parliament assembly at the time and the Commander of Civil Protection Staff Jusuf Kalamperovic said that the greatest loss in the earthquake was human lives, "and in Bar there were exactly 49 killed, the dead were laid on the grass".
"The mountains were shaking, and in this area, most people were killed, there was a huge distrust in the countryside stone houses. The city did not have water and electricity, there was no bakery or petrol station open, only five liters of petrol were given to the hospital and bakeries as per a written approval. The municipality could not be visited, so we left Krajina and Crmnica to Titograd. In such a situation, organizing life was extremely difficult, but the behavior of the entire population was unbelievable, we did not have any theft, no crime for months, and all the shops were wrecked, then there was unseen solidarity, the bus companies made the decision to work for a month free of charge," Kalamperovic said.
He added that the peasants were then much more courageous than the people in the city "where the panic spread," and recalled the story of the volcano in Lisinje, when a fire broke out on the top of the mountain "and I knew someone burned the grass to escape".
"Tito, who was then in Igalo, went to the Shipyard Bijela and said only one sentence in his style, 'Our people and folk will repair this'. Nothing else was needed; the whole Yugoslavia rose to their feet. We saw the first help on April 15th from Dubrovnik, the boat brought us drinking water, and four days later the Italian warship delivered 800 tents, the law was approved in the Assembly of SFRJ on providing the assistance to all the republics," said Kalamperovic.
Dr Ljubo Zivkovic, Executive Director of the General Hospital in that time, said that the day before the earthquake in Bar came the famous GINA - the General Inspection of the National Army - to test that this city would function in war conditions, and in faked conditions of war sanitation, and the hospital staff received a high rating from GINA.
"The next day, when the earthquake struck, Rumija and Lisinje on fire, the hospital was severely damaged. The Saturday training now was supposed to play live. In record time, all of our workers were there, there was no call when I got to the hospital, there was already Dr. Anto Martinovic, and we sent all the moving patients home, the non-moving ones to Mala Mirovica, hundreds of beds and hundreds of patients under the blue sky. Triage was executed by the most experienced surgeon Dr. Danilo Malic, and the most difficult cases were sent by helicopter to Titograd. The graduates from Kragujevac who were on the excursion in Canj came to give blood, a medical team from Maribor and Ljubljana brought a Polish hospital, the Red Cross from the Federal Republic of Germany built us a prefabricated 20 objects assembled by the Germans and opened at the end of May by their Ambassador, four doctors from Sabac have come to assist us. The Medical Center of Bar was officially declared the best of all in the earthquake affected area, we got six medals for merits of the people," said Dr. Zivkovic.
He stressed that it is nice for young people to hear that even before them there were worthy people whose efforts should not be undermined.
"Bar was lucky enough to have Blazo Orlandic, a visionary who despised superficiality and improvisation, who knew what he wants. In his memoirs, I dedicate my aforementioned memory," Dr. Zivković concluded, whose inspirational speech was greeted by a long applause.
The then vice-chairman of Municipal Assembly of Bar responsible for reconstruction and construction, Milos Suster pointed out that the restoration of Bar was helped by the famous Polish architect Ciborovski who gave advice to approach the restoration without fear, according to the plans. In Bar, five urban plans were made in 42 days; they were made on paper, corrections were resolved with a razor, and plans were made day-and-night by urban planners from Skoplje led by great Krste Todorovski.
"Already in July, construction of solid building materials had begun, in November the first buildings were completed. In awkward conditions exceptional results were achieved because people who were doing such knew what they were doing and what they could do. We were able to restore 700 apartments and brought back the people from the tents by February 1980, and the whole Bar was a large construction site. Hundreds of prefabricated buildings for socially endangered were built, hundreds of households for elderly people were built, followed by renovations of schools and health facilities, and then business facilities, so in 1984, then federal Prime Minister Milka Planinc opened the renovated Port of Bar," said Suster.
He stressed that Bar made the most in rebuilding after the earthquake consequences from all other cities because it "had a powerful state behind it, and municipalities had greater autonomy and better human resources".
"All the functions were covered by quality people. Hotel Sozina in Sutomore was the first new one built after the earthquake on the coast. Among the people who were most crucial in making Bar do the most, are unfortunately now deceased, Blazo Orlandic, Cedo Cejovic and Krsto Todorovski," said Suster.
Prof. Dr Srdjan Jankovic from the Faculty of Civil Engineering of the University of Montenegro reminded visitors and participants that Montenegro was an extremely earthquake-prone area and that there would be "more earthquakes", and therefore it is very useful to develop awareness of the reduction of seismic risk.
Remembering the April Days in 1979 was evoked by Irina Dabovic, then Zonjic, who was a member of the four-member journalist section of the Gymnasium, who assisted the team from Radio Bar, radio amateur Goran Dragovic, who pointed out that the world's first news of destruction was broadcast by radio amateurs of the club "Volujica" Rajko Radulovic and Goran Sekulovic. Vojo Banovic, the then President of the Youth in Bar, said he had formed a youth center in the elementary school "Mexico", which received six work brigades "and was proclaimed the best on the coast of six such settlements." Igor Gojnić has talked about the participation of the selection of Bar at the then very polar inter-national TV “Game without borders” in Chioggia in Italy. "We sent a message to the world that Bar is alive."
Before the panel, President of Bar Dusan Raicevic opened a photo exhibition on the Earthquake, in the Castle, and reminded that 240 apartments and 300 houses were built in only three months in Bar in 1979 and 400 apartments were renovated. Raicevic emphasized the importance of the late Blazo Orlandic and Cedo Cejovic in the reconstruction of Bar. The documentary film "Memories" by Dejan Senic was also presented.
Text by Radomir Petric, on April 16th 2019, read more at Vijesti