A 5.3-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks struck Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, on March 22, 2020, just after 6:00 a.m. The epicenter was only six miles (10 kilometers) from the city center. It is the strongest 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. A number of people were injured, including a teenage girl in life-threatening condition following a roof collapse. As people fled to the streets, aftershocks 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, “Keep your distance. Don’t gather together. We are facing two severe crises, the earthquake and the epidemic.”
The worst-hit area 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 newborn babies out into the streets.
No reports have emerged 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 of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the central church building, 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.
Local church leaders said that for further information on Seventh-day Adventist church life and work under current circumstances, people can visit the official website and Facebook page of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Croatia.