At least five people were killed and 20 other injured after a massive earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck Croatia, according to authorities.
The earthquake jolted Petrinja, a small city about 50 km southeast of the Croatian capital Zagreb, at 12.19 p.m. on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency quoted the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) as saying.
The injured people have been hospitalised and a rescue team was continuing a search for people trapped in the rubble.
Media reports showed chaotic scenes of collapsed roofs, buildings and smashed cars in the affected area.
“My town has been completely ruined. We have a dead child. It cannot be described. This is like Hiroshima,” Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbovic told reporters.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, President Zoran Milanovic and other ministers visited the city later in the day.
“We are sorry. This is a tragedy. The army is here and the police, civil protection, firefighters, emergency medical services are arriving,” Plenkovic told reporters in Petrinja.
On Monday morning, the area near the epicenter was hit by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, but there were no casualties.
Tuesday’s earthquake was felt throughout the country.
The government has abolished a ban on travel between the counties that was recently introduced due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Tuesday’s quake caused damage in the capital Zagreb.
In March, Zagreb was hit by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, which killed one person and injured 30.
In the wake of the latest earthquake, the Krsko nuclear power plant in neighbouring Slovenia was shut down as a precaution.
The plant is located roughly 80 km northwest of Petrinja.
A spokesperson for the plant told local media that it was a normal procedure during such a strong earthquake.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the European Union (EU) will support Croatia.
On Tuesday she tweeted: “We are ready to support… We stand with Croatia.”