Posted: 03 November 2010 1050 hrs
KRALJEVO, Serbia : An earthquake struck Serbia early Wednesday, killing two people, wounding dozens and inflicting substantial damage on the city of Kraljevo where electricity and other services were cut.
The 5.6-magnitude quake hit at 1:56 am (0056 GMT) with its epicentre 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Kraljevo in the centre of the country south of the capital Belgrade, the Serbian seismological institute said.
"A couple in their 50s was killed at Grdica, a suburb of Kraljevo, in the earthquake during the night," the interior ministry said in a statement.
Following the tremor, the authorities in Kraljevo declared an emergency situation as the town and some surrounding villages were badly damaged. This will allow the municipal authorities to get help nationally as local services cannot handle the demand.
Rescue teams have been deployed but had not found anyone trapped under the rubble, police said.
B92 television reported that emergency services in Kraljevo had treated dozens of injured.
In the village of Vitanovac, the epicenter of the quake, some 70 per cent of houses were severely damaged, many with their roofs collapsed. Some inhabitants were putting back tiles that fell off during the quake.
Zivan Milivojevic, a 70-year old pensioner, was trying to estimate the damage to his house.
"My entire home is destroyed. Forty years of work gone. The house is no longer habitable," Milivojevic told AFP, showing a wall clock that fell and stopped at 1:59.
Following the quake, Kraljevo was plunged into darkness as power was cut while phone lines and water supply were also severed, local media reported.
According to Kraljevo mayor Ljubisa Simovic, some 25 per cent of the town was still out of electricity and some parts of the city had no heating.
The some school buildings suffered substantial damage, as well as the city hall. The hospital was also damaged, notably its operating theatres.
Many shop windows were broken, while some cars were destroyed after concrete blocks fell over.
The quake was felt across the country, including the capital Belgrade about 150 kilometres north of Kraljevo.
The US Geological Survey measured it with a magnitude of 5.3 at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres.
It was followed by four other less powerful aftershocks, the Serbian institute said. - AFP/wk/ms