Players and staff from Bosnia and Herzegovian rugby league club, Vitez, have journeyed 250km to help in the aftermath of an earthquake in Petrinja, Croatia.
The epicentre of the 6.4 magnitude quake was located three kilometres from the city, situated in one of the poorest areas of the country. It initially happened at the end of the December and further aftershocks and mini quakes have been felt in January and again this month, leading to soil landslides and further building collapses. To date, seven people have lost their lives with another 26 being seriously injured.
Zeljko Ljubanic, president of the Rugby League Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “The whole situation caused a great sense of solidarity in the region, no matter its recent history, and we decided to travel to take humanitarian aid and help repair the consequences of the earthquake.
“Rugby league is one big family and we teach our athletes that solidarity and helping the weak are among the most important characteristics. We truly believe that our rugby league club should be an educational institution because we need to make better people out of young athletes.”
Ljubanic added: “We organized a humanitarian convoy for endangered areas, the team distributed help to those suffering, got acquainted with the scale of the catastrophe and, unfortunately, with the tragedies. Athletes with dirty jerseys and big hearts showed the humanity and character that adorns the sport.”