Several killed in 6.4-magnitude tremor — Albania natural disaster

Пятница, 29 Ноя, 2019

Rescue workers scrambled through the rubble of collapsed buildings in a frantic search for survivors after a series of earthquakes rattled the western Balkans, leaving at least 13 people dead and hundreds injured.

A powerful natural disaster has hit Albania in the middle of the night, forcing people to run into the streets.

A September quake damaged hundreds of homes. In total at least three hotels, a residential villa and an apartment building collapsed in Durres, and one apartment building in Thumane.

Firefighters and military personnel are searching for people thought to be trapped beneath the rubble.

Albanian President Ilir Meta said the situation in the city of Thumane, the closest to the epicenter, was "very dramatic".

Live TV footage showed people cheering when a child was found alive in a collapsed building in the town of Durres where a body had been found earlier.

"Durres and Thumane are the areas worst hit".

Military and emergency personnel put an injured man on a stretcher in Thumane.

The latest quake was reportedly also felt in the southern Italian regions of Puglia and Basilicata.

"I believe we shall put them in new houses within 2020, in better housing that they had", Rama said in a televised comment.

The European Commission said on Twitter that "rescue teams from Italy, Greece and Romania are already on their way" to assist the rescue efforts. Scores of aftershocks were recorded, including three with preliminary magnitudes of between 5.1 and 5.4.

"We are expecting multiple aftershocks following the main natural disaster".

Some 300 soldiers have been sent to Durres and Thumane, defence ministry spokeswoman Qahajaj said, while around 1,900 police officers have also been deployed to help.

They say that European Union emergency services are "in continuous contact with Albania's civil protection authorities".

The quake was felt in several cities and towns along the coast, damaging buildings and panicking residents as they flocked to the streets in darkness. Many have reported seeing cracks in the walls of their apartment.

Tuesday's quake has been described as the strongest one to hit the country in nearly a century.

The tremor struck just north-west of the capital Tirana just before 4 AM Tuesday local time, destroying homes and bringing several strong aftershocks.