Croatian MPs hold unusual session as aftershocks continue shaking Zagreb

Croatian MPs hold unusual session as aftershocks continue shaking Zagreb

Croatian MPs hold unusual session as aftershocks continue shaking Zagreb Izvor: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL

Following a historic earthquake on Sunday, residents of Zagreb were shaken by two more aftershocks on Tuesday evening, with epicentres at Markusevec, just north of Croatia's capital. Displaced by the quakes, Croatia's lawmakers met for an unusual session in an alternative location, seated apart to enforce social distancing amid coronavirus epidemic.

Measuring 3.2 and 2.2 on the Richter scale, they occurred at around 9 pm, only three minutes apart. According to reports, intensity at the epicentre of the first tremor was of IV degree on the Mercalli scale, while the second one reached an intensity of II-III degree.

Zagreb area was hit by a 5.5 magnitude earthquake at around 6:30 am on Sunday, damaging many buildings in the city centre and fatally injuring a 15-year-old girl.

The initial quake - largest the city has seen in 140 years - was followed by a string of more than 70 lower magnitude tremors over the next two days hours, ranging from 5.1 to under 2.0 degrees on the Richter scale.

The aftershocks have not caused any damage, but experts continue to warn that tremors and lower-magnitute quakes might continue for weeks or even months.

Some residents, exhausted by the combination of sweeping restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus epidemic and quakes, have fled the city to weather the crisis in their seaside summer homes. Authorities moved to outlaw all inter-city travel on Monday, save for people carrying special permits.

The Sunday quake also displaced lawmakers as one of the buildings damaged was the Parliament building in city's historic Upper Town district, used to hold sessions of the country's 151-seat assembly.

On Wednesday, MPs held an unusual session at an alternative location, in a modern 1980s building which used to serve as Zagreb headquarters of the national oil company Ina. The building, equipped with a large bomb-proof underground shelter, was used for this purpose once before in October 1991 when MPs declared nation's independence.

Due to the social distancing measures adopted to combat the coronavirus epidemic, only two MPs from each of parliament's 14 clubs were allowed to attend the session, with lawmakers seated two meters apart from each other.

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