UPDATE 5 – Death toll from strong earthquake in Croatia rises to 7


By Talha Ozturk and Lejla Biogradlija

BELGRADE, Serbia/ZAGREB, Croatia (AA) – The death toll from a powerful 6.3 magnitude earthquake Tuesday in the Croatian capital Zagreb has risen to seven, said officials.

The earthquake struck the town of Petrinja in the central Sisak region at 1319GMT, some 51 kilometers (31.7 miles) southeast of the capital, at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

The Interior Ministry confirmed that seven people have died so far.

Following the quake, at least 16 aftershocks of various magnitudes were reported in Petrinja, according to the Croatian Seismological Service.

"At least six people were seriously injured and 20 lightly. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and injured," the ministry noted.

Earlier, Darinko Dumbovic, the mayor of Petrinja, said a 12-year-old girl was killed in the earthquake and many people were injured.

"This is a horror. This is a tragedy," said President Zoran Milanovic.

He assured that the city will be rebuilt with EU financial aid.

"This city will be rebuilt, but emotionally, no one will be able to compensate people," he added.

Following the deadly incident, the Croatian government held an extraordinary meeting. Expressing his condolences, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said financial aid will be given to the damaged towns as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said they are ready to help Croatia.

Turkey also conveyed its condolences to Croatia over the earthquake.

In a phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sympathized with his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic and said Turkey is ready to provide search and rescue teams and all the help that may be needed.

Separately, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said: "We share the pain of our Croatian friends and are sending our condolences to the people of Croatia and to those who lost their loved ones during the earthquake."

Turkey is ready to provide all kinds of support for the people of Croatia, the statement added.

On Monday, two earthquakes with magnitudes 5.2 and 4.9 rocked the capital and several central towns in Croatia.

Several buildings in Petrinja and Sisak were damaged by the quakes.

In March, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck Zagreb, killing one person and injuring 27 others.

*Iclal Turan contributed to this report from Ankara