A strong earthquake shook Croatia and its capital on Sunday, causing widespread damage and panic. A 15-year-old was reported in critical condition and others were injured, news outlets reported.
The European seismological agency, EMSC, said the earthquake measured 5.3 and struck a wide area north of the capital, Zagreb, at 6:23 a.m. local time Sunday. The epicentre was seven kilometres north of Zagreb at a depth of 10 kilometres.
Many buildings in Zagreb 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.
Zagreb’s iconic cathedral was also damaged with the top of one of its two spires collapsing. 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 tremors were recorded later.
Officials first said a 15-year-old girl was killed, but doctors later said that she is in critical condition and that they are fighting for her life. They gave no immediate details on the extent of other injuries.
Residents shared photos of belongings falling off shelves, broken bottles and glass inside homes.
Rubble is seen in the streets of downtown Zagreb on Sunday after an earthquake hit Croatia. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images)
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 no choice as they ran out of their apartments.
Up to five people keeping distance are allowed to be together.
Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said the situation was complicated by the restrictive virus-related measures in place.
“There are rules for when there is an earthquake, but when there is an earthquake at the same time when there is a global pandemic, then it’s a much more complex situation.” Bozinovic told the state HINA news agency.
People walk among debris in Zagreb after a quake that damaged buildings and cut electricity in a number of neighbourhoods. (Denis Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images)