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Strong Earthquake Strikes Central Croatia

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A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck central Croatia on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, with local rescue crews reporting widespread damage near the epicenter in the town of Petrinja and the surrounding area.

There was no immediate confirmation of casualties, but there were reports that the quake, which hit just after noon local time, could be felt across the Balkans and as far away as Hungary.

The mayor of Petrinja, Darinko Dumbovic, told the regional broadcaster N1 that “half of the city was destroyed” and that it was not yet known if anyone had been killed. Images from the scene on social media and local television stations showed streets strewn with rubble, buildings with roofs caved in and rescue crews rushing through the streets.

Petrinja is about 30 miles southeast of Zagreb, the capital.

The Red Cross in Croatia said it was a “very serious” situation.

It was the second earthquake to strike the area in the past day, after a 5.2-magnitude tremor Monday morning damaged buildings and stoked fears in a region with a history of seismic activity.

It came only hours after Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Zoran Milanovic toured the center of Petrinja to survey damage from the first quake.

While that first tremor caused no injuries, Mayor Dumbovic said that many buildings had been damaged, putting them in a precarious condition when the second quake struck.

He said that there had been several small earthquakes in recent days and that many residents were afraid to spend the night in their houses.

Alisa Dogramadzieva contributed reporting.

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