A 5.3 magnitude earthquake, followed by a series of aftershocks, struck Zagreb, the capital of the Republic of Croatia on Sunday, 22 March just after 6 am. The epicenter was only 6 miles (9.6 km) from the city center. It is the largest earthquake to hit the country in 140 years.
The earthquake comes at a time of restricted movement due to the coronavirus, including a shutdown of the public tram and bus network.
In fear for their lives, people fled onto the streets. There were a number of injuries, including a teenage girl in a life-threatening condition following a roof collapse. People fled to the streets where aftershocks have continued throughout the day.
Zagreb’s mayor Milan Bandic urged people to return to their homes due to fear of the virus, while Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic told those outside to, “keep your distance. Don’t gather together. We are facing two serious crises, the earthquake and the epidemic.”
Worst hit is the historic city center where many buildings were constructed more than a century ago. Damage is being inspected and assessed while wounded and vulnerable people are being rescued. Falling tiles, mortar and bricks have destroyed many cars. Patients are being evacuated from old hospital buildings, including maternity hospitals, with mothers carrying their newly-born out in the streets.
There are currently no reports of injuries to any Seventh-day Adventist church members. The majority of them have connected with their pastors and churches through social networks and are reporting as being safe.
The Croatian Conference office, the central church and several pastoral apartments are located together in the old city center. They have been damaged and a detailed inspection is currently in progress.
The Croatian Conference does not yet have official reports of damage suffered to members homes, although social media has shown photos indicating some damage.
The Adventist Church in Croatia is inviting all members to pray for God’s protection for all people, especially those who were injured by the earthquake or infected by coronavirus.
For further information on Seventh-day Adventist church life and work in the circumstances induced by the earthquake and the coronavirus crisis, visit the official website and Facebook page of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Croatia.