Earthquake of magnitude 5.3 in Zagreb leaves significant material damage

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An earthquake of magnitude 5.3 shook Zagreb on Sunday, leaving a teenager seriously injured according to Croatian official media, and causing property damage and panic scenes, which led authorities to ask the population not to congregate for fear of spreading the coronavirus.

The tremor occurred at 06:00 local time (0500 GMT) and caused many inhabitants to quickly leave their homes to gather on the streets, as an AFP journalist found.

The spire of the cathedral in the historic center of Zagreb and the facades of several buildings were damaged by the earthquake.

In the confusion, doctors summoned by the local agency Hina announced the death of a 15-year-old teenager, although they later rectified the information and stated that it was a young woman who was resuscitated and was in critical condition.

There are other people with “injuries”, but most would not be serious, according to Damir Trut, from the civil protection service.

According to the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center (C-SEM), the epicenter of the earthquake was located about 7 kilometers north of Zagreb. The earthquake was felt in southern Austria and Slovenia.

Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic asked the population to remain on the streets but avoid meeting in groups so as not to facilitate the spread of the coronavirus, of which about 200 cases have been detected in Croatia.

“Keep your distance. Don’t group together. We are facing two serious crises, the earthquake and the epidemic,” he said.

Several areas of the capital were without electricity, the AFP journalist found.

The parliament building was also damaged.

About an hour later, the city was shaken by a new tremor, of magnitude 5.

The Balkans are located on a large seismic fault and often record low intensity earthquakes.

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