Belgrade/Zagreb, Dec 29 (efe-epa).- A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck central Croatia on Tuesday, causing extensive material damage and an unconfirmed number of casualties.
Darinko Dumbovic, the mayor of Petrinja, a town in central Croatia near the epicenter, described the situation in an interview with Radio Croatia as “chaos.”
“Petrinja is in ruins. There have been deaths, injuries, people are missing. There is not a single house that has not been damaged,” he said, adding that a young girl was among the fatalities.
Shortly before, he told media outlet 24sata that “the emergency services had begun to rescue people from the rubble” and that soldiers had been deployed to the area to help with recovery efforts.
Kresimir Kuk, from the country’s seismology institute, warned that the large earthquake could be followed by aftershocks and advised the public to stay away from buildings in poor condition.
“We cannot rule out anything, including, in theory, another earthquake (of a similar magnitude) but we can say there is more chance of smaller magnitude aftershocks,” he told N1 TV.
Footage broadcast by N1 showed extensive damage to buildings and collapsed roofs in Petrinja, as well as rescue teams comprising firefighters and volunteers working at the scene.
There were also reports of injuries in the capital Zagreb.
Some Zagreb residents, many of whom have been left without electricity, have sought refuge in the streets and parks of the city, which was hit by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in March.
Others have left the capital altogether.
Kuk urged residents to leave the streets clear so that the emergency services can travel without delay to Petrinja.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Zoran Milanovic have traveled to the central Croatian town. EFE