Earthquake in Albania: Death toll rises to 27

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Source: N1

The death toll of the devastating 6.4-magnitude earthquake which hit Albania in the night between Monday and Tuesday has risen to 27, while some 650 people sought medical help.

Albanian authorities have declared a day of mourning, with flags set at half-staff at all institutions.

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The strongest earthquake that the country had experienced in recent decades destroyed countless buildings. Rescuers spent the day and night searching the rubble for survivors.

The quake could be felt across several countries, all the way to the southern Italian region of Puglia.

According to Albania’s Defence Minister, Olta Xhacka, the western areas of Durres and Thumane were hit the hardest.

In Durres, the second-largest Albanian city on the Adriatic Sea, residents flocked to the local football stadium where the military set up tents for those whose homes were destroyed. Many fled their homes out of fear as another 250 less intense quakes shook the area throughout the day.

In one case, rescuers saved a 30-year-old woman after a 14-hour operation. Two hours later, they pulled the lifeless body of her eight-year-old daughter from the rubble, Reuters reported.

Albania had been struck by a massive earthquake last year as well, on September 21. It damaged 500 homes. Another one in 1979 devastated the north of the country.

However, neither of those two resulted in any human casualties.

Italy, France, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia have sent 200 specialized soldiers, tools and teams of search and rescue dogs to assist Albanian authorities, Xhacka said.