Croatia's Zagreb rocked by powerful quake

Croatia's Zagreb rocked by powerful quake

Immediately after the quake happened, Zagreb's head of emergency services, Pavle Kalnic, asked people to help their older neighbors.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the 5.3-magnitude natural disaster struck a wide area north of Zagreb at 6.23am local time (0523 GMT) on Sunday.

"The situation is contradictory, we invited people to stay at home to avoid spreading... the coronavirus, and now we are advising them to leave their homes", Plenkovic admitted.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic called the quake the strongest in 140 years, calling on people who exited buildings to keep their distance and stay calm.

People ran from their apartment buildings to their cars as pieces of the facades started falling off. Dozens of cars were also damaged by debris which fell off buildings.

Many buildings in Zagreb cracked and the walls and roofs were damaged.

Health Minister Vili Beros warned people to keep a 2-meter (7-foot) "social distance" as requested by decrees passed by the government in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Images from the destruction revealed cars completely crushed under the falling debris and collapsed buildings.

Citizens had been ordered to stay inside due to coronavirus and banned from being in groups numbering more than five people. "One is against the coronavirus and the other is against the consequences of the natural disaster". Croatia has recorded 206 cases of the virus and one death since the outbreak began. He gave only his first name.

"We face two simultaneous crises, one is unpredictable and the other is invisible", Bozinovic said. "We are facing two serious crises, the natural disaster and the epidemic", said Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic.

Croatian soldiers wearing masks and carrying shovels could be seen helping efforts to clear the damage on the streets of Zagreb.

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