Belgrade, 22 March 2020 (dpa/MIA) — A series of earthquakes close to the Croatian capital, Zagreb, early on Sunday injured dozens and damaged many buildings, including the cathedral in the city center.
It also forced the evacuation of two hospitals, fuelling fears related to the already serious coronavirus situation.
A 15-year-old girl suffered the worst injuries and was fighting for her life after her home partially collapsed, children’s hospital director Zarko Rasic told reporters.
Around a dozen others sought treatment, mostly for injuries to their extremities.
The strongest of the quakes, a 5.3-magnitude, 10-second jolt just north of Zagreb struck at 6:40 am (0540 GMT). Tremors could be felt in Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In Zagreb, chimneys and masonry fell onto the streets, some crushing cars.
One of Zagreb cathedral’s two towers broke off below the tip.
The Interior Ministry warned people who fled into the streets to keep distance from one another and limit the risk of further spreading the coronavirus.
The quake struck after Croatia on Saturday reported 78 new coronavirus patients, the most in a day since the crisis erupted.
The total was 204 by the evening.
New, harsher restrictions on free movement were immediately imposed, but fear and panic after the earthquake drove crowds of people into the streets.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the injured child was a boy. The hospital director Zarko Rasic told reporters that “a child was injured.” We apologize for the error.