Search for survivors after Albania earthquake ends with 49 dead

Robie de Guzman   •   November 29, 2019   •   186

Search and rescue teams carry a victim found in the rubble of a building after an earthquake hit Durres, Albania, 28 November 2019. Albania was hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on 26 November 2019. EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Tirana – Rescue operations have concluded in Albania and authorities do not expect to find any more survivors after a powerful earthquake rattled the country on Tuesday.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced on Friday that 45 people have been rescued and 49 people were found dead.

The highest number of deaths was recorded in the tourist city of Durres, on the Adriatic coast, with 25, followed by the town of Thumana, with 23, and Kurbin, with one.

Among the last victims found were the bodies of a woman embracing her twins and her seven-year-old son, whose bodies were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed building in Kenete, in the suburbs of Durres, Rama said.

The prime minister also revealed that the catastrophe has killed ten whole families, one of which was a family of eight that died due to the collapse of a four-story house in the suburbs of Durres.

The 6.5 magnitude earthquake has left more than 500 people injured.

According to Rama, 877 homes in Durres have been destroyed and in the district of Tirana, where the town of Thumana is located, which was also severely affected by the earthquake, 78 buildings have been partially damaged or rendered uninhabitable.

The prime minister announced that the people affected by the tragedy that have spent the last couple of nights in tents in Durres will be transferred to hotels.

Speaking to the media, Rama said that he had sent letters to many countries asking for financial aid to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake.

“I have just sent letters to governments that go from Germany to Australia, from Great Britain to Japan, from Sweden to Malaysia, in which I call for aid for Albania,” Rama said, before adding that the country had already received 5 million euros and 1.5 million dollars, an “insufficient” amount.

Once the rescue tasks have concluded, damage assessment would be carried out, he added.

There have been hundreds of aftershocks since Tuesday’s earthquake, which have surpassed magnitudes of 5 on the Richter scale, causing panic among a population struck by disaster.

Many people in Durres and Tirana have once again spent the night outside or in their cars out of fear of tremors causing further damage. Others even left the city and headed towards safer locations in the eastern part of the country.

Specialists from Greece, Italy, Turkey, France, Croatia, Romania, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Switzerland, Israel and the United States have taken part in rescue operations. EFE-EPA

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Search for survivors in the rubble continues after Albania quake

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2019

Tirana – Emergency operations continued in Albania on Wednesday in an attempt to rescue any remaining survivors from the rubble after a powerful earthquake shook the entire country leaving at least 30 dead.

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale rattled Albania in the early hours of Tuesday.

Rescue teams, supported by civil protection experts from other European countries, are working tirelessly in Thumana and Durres, north of the Albanian capital, in an attempt to find survivors.

Both places registered the highest number of deaths after several buildings collapsed.

Between 10 and 25 people remain missing, although data is not accurate, and it is thought the individuals may be spread across a dozen partially collapsed buildings and hotels.

So far emergency teams have been able to rescue 45 people and the number of injured needing treatment has exceeded 650, of which eight remain in critical condition.

Early in the morning, the bodies of a couple who have been named as Pellumb and Celike Greku were found.

The pair’s son was rescued on Tuesday but died overnight in the hospital.
He was found in one of the collapsed buildings in Thumana.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama called a meeting in the early hours of Wednesday morning where he declared a state of emergency during the next month in Tirana and Durres.

Some 2,500 people have had to spend the night in tents in the Durres football stadium.

Wednesday will be a day of national mourning in Albania and Kosovo, in honor of the victims.

Official acts and sports activities have been canceled for the entire day.

The earthquake occurred at around 4.00 am local time on Tuesday.

The epicenter was in the Adriatic Sea, 10 kilometers north of the city of Durres and 40 kilometers west of Tirana, the US Geological Survey (USGS).

During the hours after the earthquake, there were more than 300 aftershocks.

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake shook Bosnia with an epicenter 75 kilometers south of Sarajevo.

On Wednesday a magnitude 6.1 earthquake rattled the island of Crete in southern Greece, according to the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.

The quake had a focal depth of 71 kilometers and occurred at 9.23 local time.

Its epicenter was located in the sea between the islands of Crete and Anticitera, about 20 kilometers south of the latter and 258 kilometers south of Athens, the capital of the country.

Civil Protection officers told Efe that so far they have not received emergency calls or registered victims, although considerable material damage was recorded.

The tremor was felt not only in Crete, the largest island in Greece, but in several parts of the country, including Athens.

The president of the seismic planning agency, Efthymios Lekkas, said in statements to local media that this tremor is not related to the 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Albania. EFE

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7 dead, over 250 injured as 6.4 magnitude quake hits Albania

UNTV News   •   November 26, 2019

Albanian soldiers and rescue workers carry an injured man found in the rubble of a building after an earthquake hit Thumane, Albania, 26 November 2019. EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Tirana – At least seven people were killed and another 260 injured when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Albania on Tuesday.

According to the Balkan nation’s Institute of GeoSciences, the temblor hit shortly before 4 am local time.

Its epicenter was located in the Adriatic Sea, 10 kilometers from the city of Durres and 40 km to the west of the capital, Tirana.

There was substantial damage to buildings in the affected towns and cities, where people sought safety on the street after the quake hit.

The first fatality to be reported was that of a woman who became trapped under a collapsed building in the coastal city of Durres, which took the brunt of the earthquake.

Rescues teams also recovered the body of a 10-year-old girl from the same building.

A third victim was found in the rubble of a collapsed hotel near the city’s beachfront.

According to the Defense Ministry, rescue teams found the bodies of two women in the town of Thumana, north of the capital, where several buildings had collapsed.

Emergency workers in Thumana were sifting through the wreckage of a building where seven families were known to have lived.

The number of causalities could rise.

A man in the town of Kurbin, north of Tirana, after falling from the balcony of a building while another died when his car was buried during an aftershock.

Specialist teams from Italy and Greece have been sent in to help the Albanian authorities.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said the country would mourn the victims.

He immediately traveled to the city of Durres.

“It’s a dramatic moment, let’s remain calm,” he said.

The earthquake was the most serious since 1979.

Thousands of people have fled their homes, taking refuge in cars or spending the night outside.

In Tirana and Durres the streets have been clogged by vehicles.

“My children are terrified. Shelves fell, glasses broke. I hid under the table with them,” Eldon Gjikaj, a resident of Tirana, told Efe.

Authorities have closed schools for the day.

Part of a Byzantine wall dating to the 5th Century collapsed in the city of Durres.

Built on the ruins of ancient Greek and Roman settlements, the city has been destroyed several times before and was completely razed in 346AD.

The earthquake, which lasted 30 seconds, could be felt throughout the country, as well as in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia. EFE-EPA
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