Croatia's capital, Zagreb was hit by a massive 5.3 magnitude earthquake on March 22.
It was a devastating sight in the Croatian capital city, Zagreb, which was hit by a massive earthquake less than 24 hours into the lockdown due to Coronavirus outbreak, on the morning of March 22, 2020. Footages of nurses fleeing with newborn babies in their arms from the city's crumbling University Hospital Centre has sent shock waves in the country and outside, reports The Sun.
The epicentre was four miles north of Zagreb and the magnitude of the earthquake was 5.3 on the Richter scale. The prime minister, Andrej Plenković, said the earthquake was the biggest in Zagreb in the last 140 years, as per The Guardian.
"It lasted over 10 seconds. By far the strongest I have ever felt," one witness told Aljazeera, adding that it was followed by several aftershocks.
Croatia has experienced a 5.3 magnitude earthquake as the are told to #StayHome due to #COVID19.They are forced to move out of the house where the temperatures are at 4° C. This world something is a miss, pray for Croatia. #Croatia pic.twitter.com/fXTwBci4C7— Mwaura The Guru (@lincoln_mwaura) March 23, 2020
A 15-year-old girl is reportedly in critical condition and 16 others were injured as a result of the quake, Croatian authorities said, according to The Guardian. As per The Sun, Zarko Rasic, the head of the Zagreb Emergency Medicine Institute said, "An ambulance team took to the field and found under a collapsed building a child who no longer showed signs of life."
The footages show distressing pictures of the city covered by debris. Zagreb residents fled to the streets as buildings were razed, roofs crumbled and flying bricks and concrete destroyed cars. Mothers dressed in nightgowns could be seen evacuating their localities and hugging their children while being surrounded by debris.
However, health minister Vili Beroš has requested people to adhere to social distancing measures even as they were trying to deal with the quake damage. “Earthquakes are dangerous but coronavirus is even more so,” he said per The Guardian.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković described them as "two parallel crises that contradict each other" as he also urged citizens to maintain social distancing in the wake of the devastating tremors.
He said, "We will try to clear the streets as soon as possible," reports The Sun. "Stay outside your homes and keep distance." Croatian soldiers wearing masks and carrying shovels could be seen helping efforts to clear the rubble from the streets and help hospitals pull out incubators and other equipment.
Hard times ahead😢Horrific photos from today’s earthquake in #Croatia #CroatiaEarthquake. Babies in incubators, collapsed ceilings, destruction and patients displaced.Kindly God forgive us as we don't know what we are doing🙏@croatiaeartquake pic.twitter.com/Ir2Q5QGkvb— Mogusu amos (@mogusu_amos) March 23, 2020
"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," the country's interior minister told the state HINA news agency as quoted by The Sun.
The distressing images from Croatia have saddened the global Twitterati and solidarity messages are flooding the internet.
Sending our thoughts and prayers to Croatia as they try to brave through these difficult times.