A powerful earthquake has hit Albania in the middle of the night, forcing people to run into the streets. Over a hundred people have been injured and several buildings collapsed, while others appeared to crack.
The 6.4-magnitude quake struck between the port town of Durres and the capital Tirana, at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles), according to the US Geological Survey.
According to preliminary information, the quake, the strongest in the country for decades, claimed at least 3 lives and left over 50 people injured.
Extensive damage was afflicted to buildings in the area near the epicenter north of Durres town, approx. 30 km away from the capital of Tirana.
At least six people have died and 300 people have been injured after the most powerful earthquake to hit Albania in decades rocked the capital, Tirana, and surrounding region, causing several buildings to collapse and burying residents in the rubble.
The 6.4-magnitude quake struck shortly before 4am local time (0300 GMT) on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, the second powerful tremor to hit the region in two months. It was centred 19 miles west of Tirana, at a shallow depth of six miles. Scores of aftershocks included three with preliminary magnitudes of between 5.1 and 5.4.
Albanian president Ilir Meta said the situation in the town of Thumane, closest to the epicentre, was very dramatic. “All efforts are being made to take the people out of the ruins,” he said, and called on the cabinet to request international assistance. Neighbouring countries, the European Union and the United States have all offered immediate support.
Witnesses said residents were rushing out of their houses in panic, but an unknown number of people could still be trapped inside buildings.
One person has died after jumping from a building, Defence Ministry spokesperson confirmed.
Officials said that the most damage was seen in Durres, while at least 50 people in Tirana had to be hospitalized.
Photos Albania Earthquake Nov. 26, 2019
Albania experiences regular seismic activity. On September 21, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake injured around 70 people and damaged 500 houses, while some were completely destroyed.