Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Strong 6.4 Quake Hits Croatia: Extensive Damage, 'This Is Like Hiroshima', Multiple Deaths, Injuries

Jan Bantic

At least seven people were killed and dozens were injured after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck central Croatia on Tuesday, according to the US Geological Survey and Croatian officials. 

Emergency crews, assisted by the military, were still digging through the rubble in several towns as night fell and electricity remained out.
The quake, which struck just after noon local time about 30 miles southeast of the capital Zagreb, could be felt across the Balkans. It is the largest quake to hit Croatia this year, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the death toll was expected to rise. And he appealed to private citizens not to go to the worst-hit town, Petrinja, which was near the epicenter.
"At this moment, we don't know exactly how many people have died. The latest information before the core cabinet meeting was seven people," Plenkovic said. "We have some indication that this number may be higher, so we'll wait and see for the police's official report."
A girl in the town of Petrinja, a man found inside a collapsed church in the village of Žažina, and five men in the village of Majske Poljane, were among the dead, according to Croatia's Interior Ministry and local media reports.
We are doing everything we can to help the citizens of Petrinja and surrounding areas in this dramatic and tragic situation," Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said in a tweet. 
"The destructive earthquake has taken human lives, destroyed homes, and we deeply sympathise with every person and every family that has been harmed."
Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic told CNN affiliate N1 that the town of nearly 25,000 residents was "going through hell" after the tremor, and had no running water or electricity. He has requested emergency aid.
"I feel that both its center and its soul have been destroyed," Dumbovic said. "We have no electricity, no water. Everything is broken. We are here in darkness, in ruin, searching for people," he added.
Footage from inside the hospital showed medical staff working by torchlight as they awaited the evacuation of some patients.
All the patients in Petrinja hospital have now been evacuated, as well as 80% of those who were in Sisak hospital, the Prime Minister said Tuesday evening. The patients were evacuated by the military -- mostly to Zagreb.
More than 250 members of the Croatian armed forces are on the ground, according to a statement from Defense Minister Mario Banozic, shared by the Croatian government's official Twitter account.

M6.4 earthquake hits Croatia:

A strong M6.4 earthquake struck central Croatia, just 46km (17 miles) southeast of Zagreb on December 29, 2020.

The powerful jolt has killed at least one girl and injured several dozens.

As a result of the big shake up, many phone and power lines were downed, and multiple buildings collapsed, sending Croatians into a state of shock.

The earthquake 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 (see map above).

Petrinja extensive damage

Considerable damage to buildings were reported in Petrinja, a town about 60km (37 miles) southeast of the capital Zagreb, where witnesses describe scenes of chaos as emergency services rush to find survivors and treat the injured.

Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic said in a statement: “My town has been completely destroyed, we have dead children. This is like Hiroshima – half of the city no longer exists.

The center of Petrinja as it used to be no longer exists. One girl died and there are injuries and people inside collapsed buildings.

More victims are expected. 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.

Croatian Red Cross said it was facing a “very serious” situation in Petrinja.

In another city called Sisak, about 8.5 miles (14km) from Petrinja, was inside a shop when the earthquake struck damage to buildings and businesses is also big. A witness explains: Everything collapsed, all of our things are inside. I don’t know what to expect. I am still shaking, I can still feel the earthquake.

The same area was struck by a 5.2 quake on Monday. According to officials, this Croatia earthquake was “extremely strong”, far stronger than the one that hit Zagreb in March 2020 that killed 1 and injured 27.

Meanwhile, giant cracks were discovered in the area by frightened residents:

It is as if the fissures had completely destroyed a small rural road. Follow this link if you want to watch more videos and pictures of this strong Croatia earthquake:

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