Strong earthquake hits Croatia and 12-year-old girl died

Strong earthquake hits Croatia and 12-year-old girl died


The earthquake, which downed phone lines and sent Croatians into a state of shock, was felt throughout the country on Tuesday, as well as in neighbouring Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and as far away as Graz in southern Austria.

Officials said a 12-year-old girl died in Petrinja, a town of about 25,000 people about 60km (37 miles) from Zagreb.

At least 20 people were taken to hospital, two with serious injuries, they said. Another person was killed in a village close to the town.

“The centre of Petrinja as it used to be no longer exists,” Croatria’s state HRT television reported, saying people remained inside collapsed buildings.

“More victims are feared,” he said. “Army, firefighters, ambulance – everyone is here. I’ve seen firefighters and ambulance cars arrive, emergency workers checked a child for a pulse and transferred them to hospital.

“They are trying to organise themselves. People are shouting, saying that the nursing home should be attended to first.”

Firefighters arrive after an earthquake in Petrinja, Croatia December 29, 2020 [Slavko Midzor/Pixsell/Reuters]

Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic said in a statement broadcast by HRT TV: “My town has been completely destroyed, we have dead children.

“This is like Hiroshima – half of the city no longer exists.”

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and other government ministers arrived in Petrinja after the earthquake.

He said the army has 500 places ready in barracks to house people, while others will be accommodated in nearby hotels and other places.

“No one must stay out in the cold tonight,” the prime minister said.

The European Mediterranean Seismological Center said the 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 46km (17 miles) southeast of Zagreb.

Blanka, a resident of Sisak city, about 8.5 miles (14km) from Petrinja, was inside a shop when the earthquake struck.

“Everything collapsed, all of our things are inside,” she told Al Jazeera. “I don’t know what to expect. I am still shaking, I can still feel the earthquake.”

Tomislav Fabijanic, head of emergency medical services in Sisak, said there were many injured in Petrinja and in Sisak.

“There are fractures, there are concussions and some had to be operated on,” he said,

Croatian Red Cross said it was responding to a “very serious” situation in Petrinja following the earthquake.

The same area was struck by a 5.2 quake on Monday. In March, an earthquake of magnitude 5.3 hit Zagreb causing one death and injuring 27 people.

Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk described the earthquake as “extremely strong”, far stronger than the one in spring.

He warned people to keep out of potentially shaky, old buildings and move to the newer areas of the city because of the aftershocks.

In Zagreb, people ran out into the streets and parks in fear. Many reportedly were leaving the city, ignoring a travel ban imposed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at Imperial College in London, tweeted: “We can probably expect quite strong shaking and hence some damage to buildings from this earthquake.”

    Our colleagues from Croatian Red Cross are on the ground assisting at the epicentre of the #earthquake at #Petrinja #croatia @crvenikriz_hr

    — IFRC Europe (@IFRC_Europe) December 29, 2020

Slovenia’s Krsko nuclear power plant was shut down as a precaution, the plant’s spokeswoman said Tuesday.