Six people have been killed and at least 20 injured after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Croatia today.
Towns were “demolished” after the tremor hit 28 miles southeast of the capital Zagreb.
A 12-year-old child in the town of Petrinja has been killed, according to Croatian government official Tomo Medved.
Mr Medved said five more people died in the surroundings of the town of Glina.
Petrinja’s mayor, Darinko Dumbovic, announced on a local TV broadcast that his town has been “completely destroyed”.
He said: “We have dead children. Half of the city no longer exists. The city has been demolished, the city is no longer liveable. We need help.”
Tomislav Fabijanic, head of the emergency medical service in Sisak, said there were many injured in the city and in Petrinja.
At least 20 people went to hospital with injuries, he said, with two seriously hurt.
Situacija u Petrinji. pic.twitter.com/EK63mcVofC
— Hrvatski Crveni križ (@crvenikriz_hr) December 29, 2020
“The army is here to help. We will have to move some people from Petrinja because it is unsafe to be here,” Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter that she had spoken with Mr Plenkovic and ordered an envoy to urgently travel to Croatia.
Irish seismologist Thomas Blake told Newstalk this evening that there could be further aftershocks as it is a “complex area” in terms of geology and therefore prone to earthquakes.
He said: “In the past, there have been three magnitudes 6 beginning right back in 1880 when the first one happened.
“It’s an area of a lot of seismic activity but this magnitude 6 is the largest one they’ve had for quite some time.
“It’s also unique because it’s quite shallow.”
Mr Blake said the full impact of the earthquake will be determined by what depth it was and the nature of the buildings in the region.
He added: “It’s a shallow earthquake so then a lot of the surface of the earth will move with the vibrations and if the buildings are weak they will fall.
“In this instance here the older buildings are the ones that have fallen in this region and that’s not surprising given the magnitude of the earthquake and the fact that it was shallow.”
After another powerful earthquake in Croatia, the 2nd in the past 2 days, I spoke with Prime Minister @AndrejPlenkovic again.
We are ready to support. I have asked @JanezLenarcic to stand ready to travel to Croatia as soon as the situation allows.
We stand with Croatia.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 29, 2020
Video footage showed people being rescued from rubble near the epicentre. Other clips showed houses caved in.
The same area was struck by a 5.2 magnitude quake on Monday, killing one person and injuring 27.
The earthquake was felt throughout the country and in neighbouring Serbia, Bosnia and Slovenia – even as far as southern Austria.
Mr Plenkovic said the army has 500 places ready in barracks to house people, while others will be accommodated in places including nearby hotels.
Slovenia’s STA news agency said that the country’s sole nuclear power plant was shut down as a precaution.
Additional reporting by IRN