Strong earthquake of magnitude-5.3 hits Croatia

AP
A strong earthquake yesterday in Zagreb, Croatia, caused panic, hospital evacuations and widespread damage, including the city's iconic cathedral.
AP

A strong earthquake yesterday in Zagreb, Croatia, caused panic, hospital evacuations and widespread damage, including the city’s iconic cathedral — all during a partial coronavirus lockdown.

A 15-year-old was reported to be in critical condition and several others were also injured, news outlets reported.

The European seismological agency said the earthquake measured 5.3 and struck a wide area north of Zagreb at 6:23am local time yesterday. The epicenter was 7 kilometers north of Zagreb at a depth of 10 kilometers.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the earthquake was the biggest in Zagreb in the last 140 years.

Many buildings cracked and walls and rooftops were damaged. 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 parking lot as they evacuated a damaged maternity hospital in freezing temperatures. The women, newborn babies and incubators were moved to a new location with the help of the Croatian army.

Zagreb’s Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was also damaged, with the top of one of its two spires severely damaged. The cathedral was rebuilt after it toppled in the 1880 earthquake.

Power was cut as people ran out of their homes. Several fires were also reported. At least two other temblors were recorded later. Residents shared photos of damages inside homes.

The earthquake struck amid a partial lockdown of the capital because of the spread of the coronavirus. People were told to avoid public areas, such as parks and public squares, but had little choice as they fled their residences.

The Prime Minister urged people to remain calm and stay outside their homes in the central parts of Zagreb, which sustained the most damage.

“We have two parallel crisis that contradict each other,” Plenkovic said after an emergency meeting of Croatia’s top officials.

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