Croatia jolted by aftershocks a day after earthquake kills seven

Dozens homeless after villages reduced to ruins

TOPSHOT - Croatian soldiers stand next wreckage and damaged buildings in Petrinja, some 50kms from Zagreb, after the town was hit by an earthquake of the magnitude of 6,4 on December 29, 2020. The tremor, one of the strongest to rock Croatia in recent years, collapsed rooftops in Petrinja, home to some 20,000 people, and left the streets strewn with bricks and other debris. Rescue workers and the army were deployed to search for trapped residents, as a girl was reported dead. / AFP / Damir SENCAR
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A series of aftershocks jolted central Croatia a day after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday killed at least seven people, injured dozens and left several towns and villages in ruins.

The strongest, a 4.7-magnitude tremor, was recorded early on Wednesday near the heavily damaged town of Petrinja, about 40 kilometres south-east of the capital, Zagreb. Many people spent the night in tents, their cars or military barracks.

In the hard-hit village of Majske Poljane, where five people died in the earthquake, a little boy could be seen sleep inside a van, wearing a cap on a chilly December morning.

Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said January 2 would be a national day of mourning for the victims.

Sobbing villagers said they received blankets, food and other aid but they did not know what they will do next. Rain that fell overnight in the area turned the dust from the rubble into mud, adding to the hardship.

“We can’t say ‘Good morning’, It is not good,” Petrinja's mayor Darinko Dumbovic told Croatian radio.

“We had the third and fourth tremors this morning, short ones but strong. What hasn’t fallen off before is falling now from the ruins of Petrinja. Fear has crept into people."

Mr Dumbovic said his office was destroyed in the earthquake so the city authorities are scrambling to function. He said help is pouring in from all sides of the country and “solutions must be found”.

Rescuers spent the night searching through rubble of heavily damaged buildings looking for possible survivors.

Officials said a 12-year-old girl died in Petrinja, a town of about 25,000 people. Another five people were killed in a nearly destroyed village close to the town. At least 26 people were admitted to hospital with injuries.

The quake on Tuesday, the strongest in Croatia since the introduction of the modern seismic measurement system, was felt throughout the region, including Bosnia, Serbia and Slovenia.

The central Croatian region was also struck by a 5.2 earthquake on Monday and seismologists said several more aftershocks could be expected.