Albania: Powerful 6.4 magnitude natural disaster hits Tirana

Wednesday, 27 Nov, 2019

Nine people died and more than 600 were injured in Albania after the strongest quake in decades rocked the Balkan country early yesterday, destroying buildings and burying victims in rubble.

The U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination office is created to help the United Nations and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of an quake, hurricane, severe flooding or other sudden emergency.

Marjana Gjoka, 48, was asleep in her fourth-floor apartment in Thumane when the quake shook the five-story building.

Located along the Adriatic and Ionian seas, Albania experiences regular seismic activity, though the November 26 tremor was the strongest to strike in decades.

At least six people are dead and dozens are hurt as the biggest quake to hit Albania in decades levelled buildings, trapping people in the rubble and sparking panic among residents today. Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, France, Estonia, Turkey and the Czech Republic also offered help, while the European Union delegation to Albania said additional European Union assets were on standby should they be needed.

Magnitude-6.4 quake rocking Tirana capital and nearby port town of Durres claims at least 14 lives and injures more than 600 people, officials say. Social media videos from the area show several buildings have collapsed.

The epicenter of the quake was located 15 kilometers (9 miles) off Durres city, at a depth of 38 kilometers (23 miles).

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

The cause of death for two other victims is unknown.

People reported seeing cracks in their apartment walls.

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

"Such kind of quakes are felt in a wider area due to its major depth and magnitude".

Defence ministry spokeswoman Albana Qehajaj said the bodies of two people were recovered from a collapsed building in the coastal city of Durres, 20 miles west of Tirana.

Some people left their homes to go to open areas.

All government agencies were on alert and "intensively working to save lives at the fatal spots in Durres and Thumane", Mr Rama said.

On September 21, a 5.6-magnitude natural disaster injured around 70 people and damaged 500 houses, while some were completely destroyed.

National police asked people in Durres and the surrounding areas to avoid driving so emergency services could reach those affected by the quake.