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Albania earthquake damages buildings

September 23, 2019

TIRANA: Albania was rattled by its strongest earthquake in decades on Saturday, officials said, sending people fleeing into the streets in several cities, damaging buildings and triggering power cuts in the capital.

The epicenter of the shallow 5.6-magnitude quake, was near Durres, less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of the capital Tirana, according to the US Geological Survey.

Albania’s defense ministry said it was the “strongest earthquake in the country in the last 20 to 30 years.”

“There are no deaths,” defense ministry spokeswoman Albana Qajaj said.

Some 80 people sought medical help in both Tirana and Durres, 21 of whom were hospitalized from injuries caused by falling objects or parts of walls as well as for panic attacks, Health Minister Ogerta Manasterilu said.

Vehicles are crushed as emergency services workers clear the ruins of a collapsed building roof in Tirana on Saturday after two earthquakes over magnitude 5.0 struck the coastline Adriatic coastline of Albania. AFP PHOTO

Qajaj told Agence France-Presse that houses and buildings in Tirana had been damaged but were still standing and that the ministry was accessing damage in other towns and villages.

Prime Minister Edi Rama cancelled his scheduled trip to the United States following the quake, which cut electricity and telephone lines in Tirana and a number of other towns and villages.

Many people remained outside their homes for several hours in the capital, fearful of aftershocks.

“I fear to return because such a strong earthquake could be followed with others,” Drita Lohja, a resident in her fifties, told AFP.

Falling debris pulverized parked cars in parts of the city.

AFP reporters and witnesses saw windows broken and deep fissures in the facades of buildings in Durres, as well as in the capital.

Media reported that a large building in Tirana was seriously damaged and that residents were being evacuated.

A University of Tirana building was also damaged, witnesses said.

According to local media reports, at least two people were lightly injured and a dozen houses collapsed in the village of Helmes, 10 kilometres from Tirana.

Two other earthquakes followed the strong one that occurred at around 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) and was felt in neighbouring Montenegro and Italy, but also on the Greek island of Corfu according to some Twitter users. AFP

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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