World, Europe

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Albania: 16 dead

Albania tremor followed by 5.4-magnitude earthquake in Bosnia and Herzegovina, over 330 injured

Fatjon Cuka, Seyyid Emin, Dzihat Aliju and Talha Ozturk   | 26.11.2019
6.4 magnitude earthquake hits Albania: 16 dead

TIRANA, Albania/BELGRADE, Serbia 

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit western Durres city of Albania on Tuesday at 3.54 a.m. local time (0254GMT), said the country's Institute of GeoSciences, Energy, Water, and Environment.

According to a statement by the country's Defense Ministry, the earthquake has killed at least seven people, one of whom jumped from a window due to panic.

Another earthquake with 5.4 magnitudes hit the region's other country on the Adriatic coast.

At around 10.19 a.m local time (GMT+1) Bosnia and Herzegovina's southern region Nevesinje hit by the latest earthquake in the region.

The website of the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) states that the epicenter of the earthquake was recorded 77 kilometers south of the capital Sarajevo, exactly 11 kilometers southwest of Nevesinje, at a depth of 10 kilometers.

Turkey's Ambassador to Tirana Murat Ahmet Yoruk said Turkey is preparing to send a search and rescue team as well as a medical team.

"We have got in touch with Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency [AFAD] after meeting with the authorities of Tirana. They are preparing to send a search rescue team as well as a medical team during the day," Yoruk told Anadolu Agency.

"AFAD search and rescue team, along with 3 vehicles and National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) from the Ministry of Health are traveling to Albania to support search and rescue operations after the 6.2 magnitude earthquake," said AFAD on its social media account.

He added that about 300 to 500 buildings collapsed in Durres city.

"According to preliminary information, between 300 and 500 buildings collapsed. Some Turkish citizens were staying in a hotel in the port city of Durres. The hotel collapsed, but they have survived the disaster with minor injuries. One of them had a problem with the waist. So we sent an ambulance from Tirana," he said.

The ambassador also said the Turkish embassy also sent a vehicle to evacuate the citizens in Durres, and added: "They are in good condition. Naturally, they are scared but we are expecting them to our embassy to rehabilitate them before returning to Turkey".

Yoruk added that so far they have not received a request for assistance with Turkish citizens living in the country.

Also, Turkish Red Crescent will send two trucks full of tents, blankets and hygiene sets and 8 disaster specialists.

The aid consists of 120 tents that could accommodate a thousand people, 2 thousand 500 blankets and a thousand hygiene parcels.

President of the Turkish Red Crescent Kerem Kinik said that they are following the developments closely.

"We are in constant contact with the Albanian Red Cross. We have set off our 2 trucks of emergency supplies with our 8 expert staff," said Kinik.

Countries offer help in aftermath of earthquake

Meanwhile, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic offered help to Albania in a letter of condolence to the President Ilir Meta and Prime Minister Edi Rama.

"It is difficult to anticipate such catastrophes and stop the relentless force of nature, but if Serbia can help in any way, we are ready to provide, within our means, every assistance in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.

"We are sadly looking at pictures of the devastation in Durres and other places in Albania. Allow me to extend my sincere condolences to you and the families of the dead, as well as to express my sympathy for those who seek your loved ones," said Vucic's letter.

Albania will overcome the situation "with great friends," Albanian prime minister said on his social media account.

"It is a dramatic moment where we must nevertheless keep calm, stand by each other and face this blow, then we will do our best and with great friends at hand we will overcome this situation," said Rama.

He also listed leaders that offered help, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as countries such as North Macedonia, France, Montenegro, and Germany.

At least 330 people injured due to earthquake

The Albanian Health Ministry said at least 330 people were injured due to the earthquake.

The epicenter of the earthquake was located 15 kilometers (9 miles) off Durres city, at a depth of 38 kilometers (23 miles).

The quake was felt in other cities of Albania, particularly in the capital Tirana, and in neighboring countries of North Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro.

It also caused communication problems and power cuts in Albania.

The country's Education Ministry said the schools were suspended for a while for security.

On Sept. 21, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in the country left over 130 people injured and more than 600 buildings damaged.

* Writing by Fahri Aksut

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