Published: Tue, March 24, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Magnitude 5.3 natural disaster strikes Croatia, damaging buildings

Magnitude 5.3 natural disaster strikes Croatia, damaging buildings

A powerful quake has struck north of Croatia's capital, Zagreb, damaging buildings, burying vehicles in rubble and causing several fires.

The US Geological Survey said the quake measured 5.4, while the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) also reported 5.3 magnitude, followed by another 5.1 magnitude natural disaster.

The quake struck north of Zagreb on Sunday, GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences said, damaging buildings, sending many people into the streets, burying vehicles in rubble and causing several fires.

A 15-year-old was in critical condition, the local authorities said.

Zagreb's iconic cathedral was also damaged with the top of one of its two spires collapsing. The concrete slabs fell on the cars and the chimneys landed in front of the entrances.

There are 315 coronavirus cases confirmed in Croatia as of Monday.

"The situation is contradictory, we invited people to stay at home to avoid spreading... the coronavirus, and now we are advising them to leave their homes", Plenkovic admitted.

Croatia's Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic is urging people to remain calm and keep social distancing.

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The PM said that Sunday's quake was the strongest Zagreb had experienced in 140 years.

Krško is home to Slovenia's sole nuclear power plant, which is roughly 50 kilometres north-west of Zagreb and hence close to the epicentre.

Many people said they can not worry about the virus when they are not sure if they are safe at home.

Up to five people keeping distance are allowed to be together.

On Sunday evening, residents of Belgrade and Sarajevo went out to their windows and balconies and applauded medical staff dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, but also "citizens and friends from Zagreb".

The damaged cathedral in Zagreb. Two further tremors were recorded later. In the streets, small parts of buildings can be seen littering the ground.

"We have two parallel crises that contradict each other", Plenković said after an emergency meeting of Croatia's top officials.

"We will try to clear the streets as soon as possible", Plenković said.

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