The capital of Croatia was struck by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake on Sunday morning at around 6:30 a.m. local time. While Zagreb is already in emergency mode to fight the pandemic coronavirus, now there are parts of the city without electricity and unfortunate structural damage to their neighborhood.
After residents stepped outside their homes to observe the area, pictures and videos of the destroyed areas were shared online. With a depth of 6.2 miles, the earthquake was large enough that it was felt by locals in Hungary, Slovenia and Austria. Thus far, there have been no injuries reported.
The epicenter of the quake was located about six miles north of Zagreb, and according to Time Out, this was the largest earthquake the country has experienced in living memory. It’s hard to think of a worse time to be hit with a natural disaster than amid a worldwide pandemic.
Photos showed hospital residents and doctors rushing to get outside after the quake. It appears an entire maternity ward was forced to exit the hospital. One woman tweeted, “Zagreb, Croatia right now. Strong earthquakes which collapsed a lot of older buildings down got everyone out on the streets. Not fun at all, especially during Corona virus quarantine. #COVID2019.”
Photos showed that debris fell from buildings that destroyed cars parked alongside the road. Forty minutes after the initial quake, a 5.0 magnitude hit which caused further damage to Zagreb and the surrounding area.
Users online couldn’t believe the terrible luck. “As if Corona was not enough, #Croatia’s #Zagreb hit by an earthquake this morning,” one person tweeted. Another person wrote, “What more should we expect from 2020 its only been 3 months #Croatia #earthquake.” Due to the early morning hour, many locals tweeted about being shaken awake by the earthquake.
The impact of the earthquake was strong enough that one of the towers of the Croatian Catholic Cathedral crumbled. In the video, it’s possible to hear emergency sirens wailing in the background.
The Earthquake Hit Croatia One Day After The Country Enforced A Shut Down Due To Coronavirus
On March 21, with 206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, much stricter guidelines were implemented in Croatia than the “Safer at Home” order issued in California, Illinois, and New York.
In Croatia, all public transportation is shut down. The general public is to stay at home – no bike rides, leisurely walks, or family gatherings.
On March 19, the Croatian border was temporarily restricted and social distancing was implemented which banned all public events and gatherings of more than five people. Save for going grocery shopping or picking up medicine from the pharmacy, no one is to leave their home.
With damage to clean up from today’s earthquake, Croatia now has an extremely difficult task to manage natural disaster emergency orders while at the same time, medical care may already be spread thin.