Strong aftershocks jolt central Croatia as rescue efforts continue

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ZAGREB, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Powerful aftershocks continued to rock central Croatia on Wednesday, a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake devastated towns and villages about 50 kilometers southeast of the capital Zagreb, killing seven and injuring dozens.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported two aftershocks -- 4.8- and 4.7-magnitude, within 11 minutes near Tuesday's epicenter before sunrise on Wednesday. The tremors were clearly felt in the capital, which had suffered severe damages in previous earthquakes since March.

Earthquakes will continue rattling the area for a long time, the head of Croatia's Seismological Survey, Ines Ivancic, told national radio on Wednesday.

"Tuesday's earthquake was devastating and will certainly be followed by a long series of earthquakes, including, quite certainly, stronger ones," said Ivancic.

Petrinja and Sisak, small cities near the epicenter, have been turned into rubble since the first 5.2-magnitude quake hit on Monday morning. Rescue workers and soldiers continued clearing debris and saving lives throughout Tuesday night.

The Croatian government declared on Wednesday Jan. 2 a Day of Mourning for the victims of the powerful earthquakes.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at the government session that the deaths of seven people had already been confirmed. They died in Petrinja, Majske Poljane and Zazina. The quake also injured 26 people.

The government has allocated 120 million kuna (19.5 million U.S. dollars) in emergency assistance to the affected counties on Wednesday.

The country's neighbors and the European Union (EU) have offered help to Croatia. Enditem

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