Albania quake toll rises, fears of aftershocks | News | DW | 27.11.2019
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Albania quake toll rises, fears of aftershocks

Rescuers worked through the night to search through the rubble of buildings in Albania, following a major earthquake early on Tuesday. Another large earthquake was felt on the Greek island of Crete on Wednesday.

Local and international rescue crews raced against time as they searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings and looked for survivors one day after a deadly magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Albania.

More than 650 people were injured and at least 26 people have been killed.

Many residents spent Tuesday night in tents, cars and at a soccer stadium in the port city of Durres as aftershocks continued.

"We feel good to not be alone and I'm very grateful to all our friends,'' said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama  late Tuesday, while visiting Durres alongside Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, referring to Greece's support of Albania.

Rescuers search through rubble following earthquake in Durres (Reuters/F. Goga)

Rescuers search through rubble following earthquake in Durres

Flags flew at half-mast on Wednesday as the Balkan state entered a national day of mourning. Planned celebrations for Albania's Independence Day on November 28 and 29 have been cancelled.

Rescue workers used diggers and drones to look for survivors and bodies. Two bodies were recovered shortly before dawn on Wednesday.

At least 300 aftershocks shook the Balkan state in the hours since the initial quake. A second smaller earthquake was experienced shortly after the first one, in southern Bosnia. Dozens of buildings were damaged in Bosnia but no injuries were reported.

Classes in several Bosnian towns were cancelled due to concerns that some school buildings may have been damaged during the quake, as well as fear of aftershocks. 

More than 200 support and rescue workers have arrived from France, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Serbia and the United States. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan weighed in on Wednesday too, pledging solidarity with Albania.

"I call on the entire Islamic world to support Albania," he said at the annual meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation.

Map of Albania showing Thumane, Durres and tirana

Crete: another 'major earthquake'

On Wednesday morning a third quake was recorded at a depth of 56km (34 miles) in the Aegean Sea between the Greek islands of Crete and Kythera.

"It was a major earthquake, the whole island shook but fortunately so far no damage has been reported," Crete regional governor Stavros Arnaoutakis told state TV.

The quake was estimated as having a magnitude of 6.0.

"It was very strong, we were swaying backwards and forwards for quite some time," said George Kominos, the vice-mayor of Kythera.

Various seismology institutes estimated that the Greek quake will not cause any serious damage because of the depth of the ocean where it originated.

Greece and the Balkans are positioned on a seismic fault line and regularly experience earthquakes but they are normally on a smaller scale and rarely cause much damage.

Watch video 01:37

Rescuers race to find survivors after earthquake in Albania

ed/stb (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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