Croatia rocked by 5.3 magnitude earthquake during coronavirus lockdown | News | DW | 22.03.2020
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Croatia rocked by 5.3 magnitude earthquake during coronavirus lockdown

A strong earthquake has hit the Croatian capital Zagreb, causing considerable damage amid the coronavirus emergency. A 15-year-old girl is in a critical condition and other injuries have been reported.

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck north of Croatia's capital, Zagreb, on Sunday morning, authorities said, sending residents into the streets.

Local media reported that a 15-year-old girl was fighting for her life after being crushed by a collapsed building. Initial reports suggested the youngster had been killed. Several other people have been injured.

The GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences said the quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).

Zagreb, Croatia after the Sunday earthquake (picture-alliance/AP/D. Bandic)

A car in Zagreb damaged from fallen rubble after Sunday morning's earthquake

"It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt," one witness told the AFP news agency.

Damage reported

Croatian media said the quake and aftershocks have caused considerable damage to the city, including one of the two spires of the iconic Zagreb cathedral. The cathedral was rebuilt after it toppled in the 1880 earthquake.

Many buildings cracked and walls and rooftops were damaged. Concrete slabs fell on cars and chimneys landed in front of entrances. Several fires were also reported.

Aftermath complicates lockdown measures

The quake happened just as Croatia's government and health service are dealing with the coronavirus emergency. The capital is in a state of partial lockdown and residents have been ordered to avoid public areas, such as parks and public squares. But they had no choice but to leave their homes when the quake struck.

A police officer moving rubble after an earthquake in Zagreb on Sunday (AFP/D. Lovrovic)

A police officer in Zagreb moving rubble after the quake

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.

mm/kl (AFP, AP)

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