Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria send aid to quake-hit Zagreb

Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria send aid to quake-hit Zagreb

Italy, Slovenia, Hungary, and Austria send aid to quake-hit Zagreb Izvor: Marko Lukunic/PIXSELL

Croatia's Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, thanked all countries that had expressed support and donated aid to Croatia in the aftermath of powerful earthquakes that hit capital Zagreb on Sunday morning.

"I particularly want to thank Italy which sent 26 tents, and we are all aware of the crisis which that country is experiencing. This is a magnificent example of solidarity and humanity," Bozinovic said in a news conference on Monday, referring to the coronavirus epidemic which brought life to a standstill across the world.

Italy is the worst-hit European country, reporting nearly 70,000 cases as of Tuesday, including more than 6,800 deaths.

The initial quake, which hit the capital around 6:30 am on Sunday, measured around 5.5 in magnitude and was the most powerful quake to hit the city in 140 years. Only one fatality was reported, a 15-year-old girl who succumber to her injuries on Monday.

But the quake severely damaged hundreds of 19-century buildings in the historic city centre, itself rebuilt in a massive reconstruction effort in the years after a destructive 1880 earthquake.

As Zagreb holds around one fifth of the nation's 4 million population, the disruption caused by the quake complicated the country's ongoing fight against the coronavirus epidemic. Zagreb accounts for nearly half of Croatia's 382 confirmed cases.

In the aftermath of the quake, Croatia asked from help from the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism, and the European Commission helped by coordinating efforts to send tents, beds, mattresses, heaters, and sleeping bags donated by Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, and Italy.

Low-orbit satellites from the EU's Copernicus programme were also used to help map the affected areas.

The Adriatic town of Kotor in Montenegro - which has a small Croat ethnic minority - also donated €5,000 to Zagreb.

Zagreb officials said that the city would set up a special support fund to help relief efforts, and that many other cities offered help, including Russia's Moscow and St. Petersburg. The mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, said on Facebook that his city would offer assistance to Zagreb too.

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