People stand outside their tents at a makeshift camp after an earthquake in Thumane, western Albania. Picture: Petros Giannakouris/AP
People stand outside their tents at a makeshift camp after an earthquake in Thumane, western Albania. Picture: Petros Giannakouris/AP

LOOK: 29 dead in Albania quake, many people still missing

By Boris Babic and Gregor Mayer Time of article published Nov 27, 2019

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Belgrade - Rescue workers from Albania and neighbouring countries on Wednesday continued their efforts amid waning hope to reach survivors trapped in the rubble of buildings that collapsed in an earthquake that killed at least 29 people a day earlier.

Thirteen of the deaths occurred in Durres, a port and resort on Albania's Adriatic coast, while 16 other people died in the town of Thumana, 40 kilometres to the north and closer to the earthquake's epicentre, Klan TV reported, quoting the Defence Ministry.

There were still people trapped in the ruins, state broadcaster RTSH said, also quoting the ministry, but it was still unclear how many.

Of the more than 650 people wounded, 32 suffered serious injuries, with one in critical condition.

So far, 46 survivors had been pulled out of the rubble - but one of them, a 31-year old man from Durres, later succumbed to his injuries. Rescuers meanwhile pulled the bodies of the man's parents from their home as well, Klan said.

A video posted by Prime Minister Edi Rama on Facebook showed Greek rescuers saving a 19-year-old man from the rubble in Durres nearly 24 hours after he was trapped.

Greek fire service teams were the first to arrive in the area, but were by now joined by counterparts from the EU, Kosovo, Greece, Turkey, France, Italy, Croatia, Romania, Switzerland, the United States, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia.

The Albanian army has set up hundreds of tents on football stadiums in Thumane and Durres and in surrounding villages to provisionally shelter people who lost their homes. So far, 700 people are sheltered in Thumane and another 1,450 in and around Durres.

Emergency personnel work at the site of a collapsed building in the town of Durres, following Tuesday's powerful earthquake that shook Albania. Picture: Florion Goga/Reuters

The devastation occurred after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the coast early Tuesday. It was preceded and followed by hundreds of tremors, some of them exceeding a magnitude of 5.

Albanian seismologists said on Wednesday that 540 tremors had been recorded since Monday.

Picture: Florion Goga/Reuters

Pope Francis sent his condolences to Albanian President Ilir Meta, as well as assuring "the injured and all those affected by this disaster of his closeness in prayer."

"Upon the emergency personnel in their relief efforts, His Holiness invokes blessings of strength," the Vatican said in a statement.

A worker removes debris from a damaged building in Durres, western Albania. Picture: Visar Kryeziu/AP

A powerful, magnitude-6.1 quake jolted the southern Aegean on Wednesday morning but apparently inflicted no serious damage as the epicentre was deep under the seabed west of Crete.


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