ZAGREB, March 23 -- A strong earthquake shook Croatia and its capital on Sunday, causing widespread damage and panic. A 15-year-old was reported in critical condition and others were injured, news outlets reported.

The European seismological agency, EMSC, said the earthquake measured 5.3 and struck a wide area north of the capital, Zagreb, at 6:23 a.m. local time on Sunday. The epicentre was 7 kilometres north of Zagreb at a depth of 10 kilometres.

Many buildings in Zagreb cracked and walls and rooftops were damaged. Downtown streets were littered with debris. Concrete slabs fell on cars and chimneys landed in front of entrances.

Photographs from the scene show mothers dressed in nightgowns hugging their newborn babies in a parking lot a...