Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Albania earthquake: at least 22 dead as authorities hunt for survivors

Tremor struck 10 kilometres north-west of Shijak between port of Durres and capital Tirana, at shallow depth

Rescuers searched the rubble of buildings in Albania on Tuesday night, after a powerful earthquake killed at least 22 people and injured 600 more that day.

A magnitude-6.4 earthquake, one of the strongest in the country's history, shook Albania shortly before 6am UAE time on Tuesday.

Soldiers, police and emergency workers looked through the debris of destroyed houses, hotels and apartment block near the country's north-west Adriatic coast, close to the earthquake's epicentre.

Most of the deaths occurred in coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane.

The tremor, the second in two months to hit the country, struck 10 kilometres northwest of Shijak, Albania, between the port of Durres and the capital Tirana, at a shallow depth of 10km, the US Geological Survey said.

A handout intensity map made available by the USGS shows the location of a magnitude 6.4 earthquake which struck aabout 30km from Tirana. EPA
An intensity map from the USGS shows the location of a magnitude-6.4 earthquake which struck about 30km from Tirana. EPA

Video posted on social media showed what appeared to be one of at least three collapsed buildings in Durres, 40km west of Tirana, on the Adriatic.

Other footage showed buildings with large cracks and fallen masonry.

In Kurbin Muncipality, a man in his fifties died in the morning after jumping from his building in panic.

Another perished in a car accident after the earthquake tore open parts of the road, the ministry said.

More than 40 people have also been retrieved alive in marathon rescue efforts that continued with headlamps and spotlights after the sun went down.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 shook the country on September 21, damaging about 500 houses and destroying some.

The Defence Ministry said it was the most powerful quake in Albania in the last 30 years.

Updated: November 27, 2019 04:34 AM

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