A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Croatia on Tuesday, December 29, causing buildings to collapse in the central city of Petrinja, the US Geophysical Institute (USGS) said.
The epicenter of the quake, which took place around 1:30 p.m., at a depth of 10 kilometers, was located about 50 kilometers southeast of Zagreb, where panicked residents rushed into the streets.
“We are currently removing people from the rubble, we still do not know if there are dead or injured”the mayor of Petrinja, Darinko Dumbovic, told a local television station. “It’s general panic, everyone is trying to find out the fate of their loved ones”, he added. Images of the city, which has a population of nearly 20,000, showed collapsed roofs and streets littered with bricks and other debris.
Situacija u Petrinji. https://t.co/EK63mcVofC
The help intervened very quickly in the city, where the army was also deployed. Rescue workers and soldiers were looking for any victims trapped under the rubble. Electricity was cut in the city center.
On Monday, a smaller magnitude earthquake had already struck the same area, causing only minor property damage. The Balkans are an area of high seismic activity, and earthquakes are frequent there.
Nuclear power station shut down in Slovenia
The earthquake was felt in neighboring Slovenia, especially in the capital Ljubljana, as well as in other countries in the region, including Hungary and Austria, according to witnesses and the media. “As a precaution”, the Slovenian nuclear power plant of Krsko was shut down after the earthquake, said a spokeswoman for the site, without giving further details. According to the STA news agency, this is a “Normal procedure in the event of strong earthquakes”.
The quake was felt in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, as well as other countries in the region, including Hungary and Austria, according to witnesses and media.
Built during the Yugoslavian era and entered into service in 1983, the Westinghouse-type reactor in Krsko, with a power of 700 megawatts, is that of the only power station in Slovenia, which shares the site with Croatia. It was initially supposed to cease its activity in 2023, after forty years of operation.
Ljubljana and Zagreb, however, decided in 2015 to extend its activity for twenty years, despite protests from several NGOs. It covers around 20% of Slovenia’s electricity needs and 15% of Croatia’s.