A strong earthquake in central Croatia has killed at least seven people, injured more than 20, and caused significant destruction in Petrinja, a town southeast of the capital Zagreb.
Measured at 6.3 by the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre on Tuesday, Dec 29 was more powerful than both a 5.2 quake on Monday and a similar-sized tremor that caused $6 billion in damage when it hit the capital of Zagreb in March.
The earthquake brought down buildings near its epicenter in the town of Petrinja, killing seven people, deputy Prime Minister Davor Bozinovic told state TV.
The earthquake disrupted country’s phone lines and power networks. A search operation, that stretched overnight, is currently underway to rescue the survivors.
The disaster adds to an already difficult year for the Adriatic European Union member state, which is still busy repairing the 20,000 buildings damaged during the March quake while also tackling one of the bloc’s worst surges in coronavirus cases and a record economic recession.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor was the nation’s strongest since the advent of modern seismic instrumentation, which began to gain prevalence in the 1880s.
It was more powerful than one in 1963 that hit near the former Yugoslav town of Skopje, now the capital of North Macedonia, that killed more than 1,000 people and destroyed 80% of the city.
In Petrinja, a city of about 25,000 people that was almost destroyed in the bloody 1991-1995 breakup of Yugoslavia, video footage showed demolished houses and fallen roofs that resembled the damage from the war.