ZAGREB, 30 December (BelTA - Xinhua) - A strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake jolted Petrinja, a small city about 50 km southeast of the Croatian capital Zagreb, at 12:19 p.m. local time (1119 GMT) on Tuesday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.
Five people were killed in the Petrinja quake, local police confirmed. At least 20 injured people have been hospitalized and a rescue team is searching 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 national television.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, President Zoran Milanovic and other ministers visited the epicenter shortly after the quake hit the country.
"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 of Tuesday's quake was hit by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake, but there were no casualties. Tuesday's earthquake was felt throughout the country. People ran out into the streets and many of them decided to leave the city. 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, which is around 50 kilometers from Petrinja. 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 neighboring 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."