At least 20 people were also injured, according to officials

By Claudia Harmata
December 29, 2020 12:27 PM
Credit: DENIS LOVROVIC/AFP via Getty

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake in Croatia has five dead, several injured and a country in disarray.

On Tuesday, Croatian authorities said that the country was struck by the destructive quake around 28 miles southeast of its capital, Zagreb, according to the Associated Press. The same area had already suffered a 5.2 earthquake on Monday.

Among the hardest-hit towns was Petrinja, where a 12-year-old girl was killed, multiple outlets reported. According to ABC News, a total of five deaths have been reported and at least another 20 people have been hospitalized with injuries caused by the quake's extensive destruction.

Credit: Robert Fajt/HM CROPIX/SIPA/Shutterstock

According to the AP, Croatia's state HRT TV station reported that some residents are still trapped inside collapsed buildings and that "the center of Petrinja as it used to be no longer exists."

"My town has been completely destroyed. We have dead children," Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović told the station in a statement, per the AP. "This is like Hiroshima – half of the city no longer exists."

Credit: DENIS LOVROVIC/AFP via Getty

In a press conference, Dumbović also pleaded for emergency aid, CNN reported. "We need firefighters, we don't know what lies below the surface. A roof fell on a car, we need help," he said.

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The Croatian military was deployed to the town to help with rescue operations and have set up 500 available beds in barracks to house displaced citizens. Others will be placed in nearby hotels, officials said.

"The biggest part of central Petrinja is in a red zone, which means that most of the buildings are not usable," Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic told the AP. "No one must stay out in the cold tonight."

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According to the United States Geological Survey, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake is considered to be "strong."

Croatia is prone to earthquakes because of its Mediterranean location, as the region resides over a complex tectonic setting. However, the last strong quake to hit the country was in the 1990s when the Adriatic town of Ston was struck with a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, according to The Guardian.

Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk told the AP that the country now needs to brace itself for aftershocks, and warned residents to stay out of old buildings.