Albanian earthquake: 29 victims counted, as gov’t announces state of emergency

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 27, 2019 15:10

Albanian earthquake: 29 victims counted, as gov’t announces state of emergency

Story Highlights

  • According to the latest official data, at least 27 people are thought to have been killed so far, 12 of whom were found in the ruins of collapsed housing in some areas of Durres, 14 in Thumana where two buildings were destroyed, and one person who lost his life yesterday in Kurbin. Authorities say there are probably about 20 more missing on appeal. Research is ongoing intensively in both the Durres and Thumana areas. In total, about 650 people applied to seek medical attention due to earthquake injuries.

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TIRANA, Nov. 27 – The balance of victims of the powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Albania Tuesday morning continues to worsen as the search missions continue looking.

According to the latest official data, at least 29 people are thought to have been killed so far, 12 of whom were found in the ruins of collapsed housing in some areas of Durres, 14 in Thumana where two buildings were destroyed, and one person who lost his life yesterday in Kurbin. Authorities say there are probably about 20 more missing on appeal. Research is ongoing intensively in both the Durres and Thumana areas. In total, about 650 people applied to seek medical attention due to earthquake injuries.

Meanwhile, the Albanian government declared a state of emergency today. The decision was announced by Prime Minister Edi Rama, who addressed his cabinet in the early hours of Tuesday.

“As the constitution and legislation explain, and given the nature of the problem and situation, it will be a state of emergency in the perimeter of the two regions where the wounds are most open, in Durres and Tirana. A state of emergency is not just a matter of finances, but a series of measures. I do not know whether those who preached it were willing to submit to such measures. This has been the reason we have been reflecting, because the state of emergency means creating a new level of governance for the situation for a period of 30 days,” said Rama.

Numerous damages were recorded in buildings, houses and service buildings centers in the Durres, Thumana and Tirana areas. Over 40 people were pulled from the ruins of flats and palaces collapsed by heavy shakes.

Wednesday is declared a national mourning day. while specialized teams from Kosovo have arrived in support of the Albanian authorities. Italy, Greece, Kosovo and Germany were among the first which immediately showed solidarity by sending over troops and aids.

It was 3.54 in the morning when Albania was shaken by frightening earthquakes, strong in intensity and extended in time, about 20-30 seconds. In a matter of minutes, residents not only of Tirana filled the streets, leaving their apartments in panic. Over 300 aftershocks followed, some as strong as of a magnitude above 5 degrees.

With the epicenter near Durres, this was the city where the damage was greater, not only in terms of material, but also the lives of some children and the elderly. Unfortunately most of the casualties are from this city, where a building collapsed, as well as two hotels on the coast or a large three-store villa in the marsh area, which was originally tilted to one side and after a few hours it all collapsed.

The second hit was Thumana where two buildings made before the ’90s collapsed, raking in some residents. As with all of Tuesday, on Wednesday there was also no stopping the rescue work.

Hundreds of people, meanwhile, were injured and called for emergency aid in hospitals. Over 650 injured were registered at hospitals in Durres and Tirana, while several dozen were kept under medical supervision.

Army forces have so far erected several tent centers that can accommodate up to 1,000 people.

“Near the stadium in Durres and the sports field in Thumana, 300 tents have been erected to house about 1,000 residents. Also the Durres Army Vacation Home with a capacity of 200 persons is at the disposal of the residents in difficulty. There are 90 gyms in Tirana, Durres, Kruja and Lezha which are being adapted to accommodate homeless families in case of need. Apart from the accommodation capacities provided by the local and central government, there are many hotels in Vlora, Durres and Tirana that, in solidarity, have provided accommodation and treatment to every struggling fellow citizen,” said Defense Minister Olta Xhacka.

In Tirana, the municipality has offered several social centers as well as 20 hotels that have expressed a willingness to wait for the affected to spend the night.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 27, 2019 15:10