Nine dead, 150 injured as powerful earthquake rocks Albania

Updated on Nov 26, 2019 04:19 PM IST
The epicentre of the 6.4 magnitude quake was about 34 kilometres (about 20 miles) northwest of the capital Tirana, at a depth of 10 km, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.
People stand next to a damaged building after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Durres, western Albania, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.(AP Photo)
People stand next to a damaged building after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Durres, western Albania, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.(AP Photo)
Tirana | ByAgence France-Presse

Albanian rescuers were digging through rubble in search of survivors Tuesday after the strongest earthquake in decades levelled buildings and trapped victims under the debris, claiming at least nine lives and injuring more than 600 people.

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 3:54 am local time (0254 GMT), with an epicentre 34 kilometres (about 20 miles) northwest of the capital Tirana in the Adriatic Sea, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

In Tirana, panicked residents ran out on the streets and huddled together in the darkness, an AFP reporter said.

The worst damage was in and around the coastal city of Durres.

Four bodies, including that of a young girl, were pulled from ruins in the port city, where a hotel collapsed and other buildings were badly damaged, the defence ministry said.

Three more bodies were found in rubble in the nearby town of Thumane. In the nearby town of Kurbin, a man is his fifties died after jumping from his building in panic, while another perished in a car accident after the earthquake tore open parts of the road, it said.

‘Don’t know if they’re dead’

The health ministry meanwhile said that more than 600 people received first aid in hospitals.

In Thumane, soldiers, rescuers and families sifted through the rubble of a collapsed five-storey building, with relatives shouting the names of their loved ones: “Mira!”, “Ariela!”, “Selvije!”.

The cries of people trapped inside could be heard as the search was underway, an AFP reporter said.

Thoma Nika, a 58-year-old who lived in the building, said he believed there were at least six people buried under rubble.

Dulejman Kolaveri, a man in his 50s, told AFP he feared his 70-year-old mother and six-year-old niece were trapped, as they lived on the fifth floor of the building.

“I don’t know if they are dead or alive,” he said with trembling hands.

“I’m afraid of their fate... only God knows.”

Arben Allushi, another Thumane local, told AFP with tears in his eyes that his wife and niece were in the building when it fell.

‘Trapped under the rubble’

Some 300 soldiers have been sent to Durres and Thumane where “there are people trapped under the rubble”, defence ministry spokeswoman Qahajaj said.

About 1,900 police officers have also been deployed to help.

A man in Durres told local television that his daughter and niece were trapped in the rubble of an apartment building.

“I talked with my daughter and niece on the phone. They said they are well and are waiting for the rescue. I could not talk to my wife. There are other families, but I could not talk to them,” the man said.

- ‘Strongest quake since 1926’ -

Tuesday’s quake was the strongest to hit the Durres region since 1926, seismologist Rrapo Ormeni told local television.

The tremors were felt across the Balkans, from Sarajevo in Bosnia to the Serbian city of Novi Sad almost 700 kilometres away, according to reports in local media and on social networks.

The quake was followed by several aftershocks, including one of 5.3 magnitude, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said. Albanian Authorities described it as the strongest earthquake in the last 20-30 years.

The Balkans is an area prone to seismic activity and earthquakes are frequent.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. 

    Facebook sparks outrage by complying with US police in an abortion case

    'A bad actor took advantage…': Twitter on reports of users' data sold online - 'Can't release encrypted chats' - For tech world watchers, the Nebraska case surely won't be the last. Meta did not provide AFP the Nebraska court's order. The police filing asked the judge to order the company not to tell Burgess's daughter about the search warrant for her Facebook messages.

  • “I would rather lose than win on a false promise,” Rishi Sunak said.

    'I would rather lose than...': Rishi Sunak on UK prime minister race

    Britain's prime ministerial candidate Rishi Sunak has insisted that he would rather lose the Conservative Party leadership race to replace Boris Johnson than win on a false promise on how he plans to tackle the economic crisis. “I would rather lose than win on a false promise,” Sunak, 42, said. Sunak also promised to "go further" than what he has already announced if elected Prime Minister.

  • Forty-two Malian soldiers were killed and 22 injured in an attack. (File Photo)

    Forty-two Malian soldiers killed in suspected Islamist attack

    Forty-two Malian soldiers were killed and 22 injured in an attack near the town of Tessit on Sunday, Mali's government said on Wednesday, blaming an Islamic State affiliate. It was one of the deadliest attacks in recent years for the Malian army, which has been battling a decade-long insurgency by militant groups that have spread across West Africa's Sahel region. Soldiers killed 37 combatants during several hours of heavy fighting, it added.

  • North Korea supremo Kim Jong Un

    Kim Jong Un had suffered fever symptoms, reveals North Korea on defeating Covid

    North Korea's Kim Jong Un declared victory in the battle against COVID-19 on Thursday, with the leader's sister revealing he had suffered from fever and vowing "deadly retaliation" against South Korea which it blames for causing the outbreak. It had instead reported daily numbers of fever patients, which totalled some 4.77 million, but has registered no new such cases since July 29.

  • Japan's minister of state for measures for declining birthrate Masanobu Ogura. (REUTERS/Issei Kato)

    Japan's male minister tried ‘pregnancy belly’ to address falling birthrate issue

    Masanobu Ogura and two other male lawmakers were to keep the 7.3 kg (16 pound) pregnancy bellies on while going about their daily routines, in order to understand the burden on the body of carrying a child, the Sankei newspaper reported at the time.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now