According to European Mediterranean Seismological Center, an earthquake of 6.3 magnitudes hit central Croatia on Tuesday, causing widespread damage to homes, building facades, collapsing roofs and even some entire buildings in a town southeast of Zagreb, the capital.
As for fatalities, so far reports have stated that a girl was killed in the quake and a man and a boy were pulled out alive from a car buried in rubble and sent to a hospital.
This damage was concentrated in a town called Petrinja, a town with a population of around 20,000 people. Further deaths have been reported by local media in a village to the south-west of Petrinja, but are yet to be confirmed.
According to reports, the intensity of the earthquake could be felt in the Croatian capital Zagreb, in neighbouring Bosnia and Serbia, and as far away as Italy.
The same area had been struck by another 5.2 quakes earlier on Monday and several other aftershocks were felt on Tuesday. Croatian seismologist Kresimir Kuk described the earthquake as “extremely strong,” far stronger than another one that hit Zagreb and nearby areas during the spring. He warned people to keep out of potentially shaky, old buildings and to move to the newer areas of the city, due to potential aftershocks.
"We are pulling people from the cars, we don't know if we have dead or injured," Darinko Dumbovic, the mayor of Petrinja, told regional broadcaster N1. "There is general panic, people are looking for their loved ones."
The mayor was speaking to reporters on Tuesday when Petrinja, home to 20,000 people, was hit by another, weaker, tremor.
People were also injured in Sisak, another nearby town. National broadcasters said that the hospitals and emergency services were struggling to cope with the number of casualties that were arriving for treatment in need of immediate medical attention.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who rushed to Petrinja, said in a statement, “The army is here to help. We will have to move some people from Petrinja because it is unsafe to be here".