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Rooftop ninjas: aerial dancers, alpinists and mountaineers help earthquake-hit Zagreb

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Written by
Lara Rasin
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Croatia's capital was hit hard by an earthquake on March 22. The city's rooftops, in particular, were devastated. Some just lost a few tiles, others were completely collapsed. So, a set of uniquely qualified volunteers have been assisting in Zagreb's rooftop repair, among them aerial dancers, alpinists and mountaineers. They've cleared over 300 rooftops, starting from those hit hardest.

The groups gathered spontaneously, starting with an open call for willing volunteers to list their contact, which equipment they own and which qualifications they have. The effort's coordinators divided volunteers into groups of several people, assigned tasks and gave apartment addresses.

Volunteers were asked to arrive at locations bringing their own equipment, which includes belts, carabiners, ropes and other gadgets.

Groups begin their work by securing themselves to supporting beams, with a rope stretched from one point to another, and four-five people attached to it. In doing so, volunteers are secure but free to move around individually. 

New friendships were born between volunteers during the efforts, who gave each other collective nicknames like 'rooftop ninjas' or 'termites'. 

The difficulty and time it takes to clear a roof depends from place to place. It can take as short as 30 minutes or as long as four hours per rooftop.

Their efforts, which have lasted weeks, are slowly coming to an end.  

(Hard) hats off to every volunteer involved in helping Zagreb post-earthquake!

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