A powerful earthquake has struck north of Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, damaging buildings, burying vehicles in rubble and causing several fires.
As firefighting and rescue operations were continuing at several locations across Zagreb yesterday, news outlets reported that a 15-year-old was in critical condition and others were injured.
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences said the earthquake, which was felt across the Western Balkans, struck at a depth of 10km.
It downgraded the magnitude to 5.3 from an initial reading of 6.0.
“It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt,” one witness said, adding that it was followed by several aftershocks.
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake measured 5.4, while the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported a 5.3 magnitude, followed by another 5.1 magnitude earthquake.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the earthquake was the biggest in Zagreb in the last 140 years.
It caused widespread damage including to the city’s iconic cathedral, with the top of one of its two spires collapsing – all amid a partial coronavirus lockdown.
Downtown streets were littered with debris. Concrete slabs fell on cars and chimneys landed in front of entrances.
Footage from the scene showed mothers dressed in nightgowns hugging their newborn babies in a car park as they evacuated a damaged maternity hospital amid freezing temperatures.
The women, newborn babies and incubators were being moved to a new location with the help of the army.
In Zagreb, people fled apartments and took to the streets while parts of the capital experienced electricity cuts. A church bell tower was damaged and some buildings collapsed, Reuters news agency reported.
Several fires were also reported. Residents shared photos of belongings falling off shelves, broken bottles and glass inside homes. — AP