The wider Zagreb area was rocked by two strong earthquakes on Sunday morning, measuring 5.5 and 5.0 on the Richter scale, and an additional 90 aftershocks and tremors.
Seismologist Tomislav Fiket says that it is not uncommon for quakes measuring 5 on the Richter scale to have devastating effects in terms of damage to buildings, as has been seen in Zagreb. There are however, some who feel much of the damage could have been avoided had many of the city’s old facades been refurbished in accordance with safety regulations.
Fiket added that earthquakes are a common everyday occurrence, noting that according to data from IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) smaller quakes (M2 or smaller) happen hundreds of times a day, while stronger ones (M7 and higher) happen more than once a month. He did say however, that big earthquakes (M8 and higher) happen less than once a year.
Since the devastating quake on Sunday, the city has been working to assess the damage, which is likely to take months if not years to repair. As of Wednesday more than 20 000 buildings have been reported for inspection to determine of they are safe. The first preliminary report on the overall damage inflicted by the quake is expected by the end of the week.
The quake claimed the life of a 15 year–old girl and resulted in 20 serious injuries. Hundreds of Zagreb’s citizens have been forced to find temporary shelter, as their homes are no longer safe for dwelling. Along with housing and apartments the quake damaged churches, theaters, museums, schools and public institutions.
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