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Severe earthquake kills several in Croatia

The earth shook on Tuesday in Croatia, pushing many residents to take to the streets where some will spend the night for fear of possible aftershocks. The locality of Petrinja was particularly affected by the magnitude 6.4 earthquake, which killed at least seven people.

Rescuers continued, Tuesday evening, December 29, to look for survivors of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck central Croatia.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced that seven lifeless bodies were found in the rubble and “there are likely to be more” victims. Croatian police said a young girl was killed in Petrinja and five people in the nearby village of Glina. About twenty people are injured, six of them seriously.

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Croatia

© France24

According to the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS), the epicenter was located about fifty kilometers southeast of Zagreb, in the region of Sisak, shaken the day before by a less powerful earthquake.

Containers to shelter people

The locality of Petrinja and its surroundings have been severely affected. Some of the 20,000 inhabitants were preparing to spend the night outside for fear of possible aftershocks.

“It is not safe here, it is clear as day,” the prime minister said at the scene, explaining that the authorities were going to install containers to shelter people whose homes were at risk.

Fearing another shock, residents like Vesna, a 70-year-old pensioner, were preparing to spend the night in their car. “My granddaughters are already there. We’re afraid to go home,” she told AFP. Retirees gathered in a park, wrapped in blankets.

“The city is nothing more than a field of ruins. It is the general panic”, commented the mayor, Darinko Dumbovic.

The electricity was cut there and, at nightfall, the city center was still plunged in the dark. In the main square, several buildings were completely destroyed. The police and the army were busy clearing the debris using backhoes. The city hospital was also without electricity. The N1 television channel broadcast images showing patients lighting themselves with their mobile phones.

European Union (EU) crisis management official Janez Lenarcic has promised to send relief supplies including “winter tents, beds and sleeping bags, as well as containers that can be used as shelters.” He announced that he would be there on Wednesday.

An earthquake felt as far as Austria

The earthquake also shook the capital Zagreb, where residents rushed into the streets and roof tiles crashed into the pavement, AFP noted.

The earthquake was felt as far as Slovenia, Serbia and Bosnia but also in Austria and Hungary. Slovenia’s Krsko nuclear power station was shut down “as a precaution”.

In March, Zagreb was struck by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake that caused extensive damage. The Balkans are an area of ​​strong seismic activity and earthquakes are frequent there. In November 2019, more than 50 people were killed in Albania in an earthquake that also left thousands homeless.

With AFP