Strong quake hits Albania; at least 2 dead, 150 injured

People were seen leaving homes to go to open areas. (AFP)
Updated 27 November 2019

Strong quake hits Albania; at least 2 dead, 150 injured

  • US Geological Survey said the earthquake measured 6.4 in magnitude
  • People reported seeing cracks in their apartment walls

TIRANA, Albania: A strong earthquake shook Albania early Tuesday, killing at least six people, injuring 300 and collapsing buildings.
The US Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.4 quake, which struck just before 4 a.m. local time, had an epicenter 30 kilometers northwest of the capital, Tirana, at a depth of 20 kilometers. Scores of aftershocks included three with preliminary magnitudes of between 5.1 and 5.4.
The quake collapsed at least three apartment buildings while people slept, and rescue crews were working to free people believed trapped in the rubble. There was no indication as to how many people might still be buried in the rubble.
Albanian President Ilir Meta said the situation in the town of Thumane, closest to the epicenter, 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.
Prime Minister Edi Rama said neighboring Kosovo was sending an emergency team to help with rescue efforts.
The bodies of three people were removed from a collapsed building in the coastal city of Durres, 33 kilometers west of the capital Tirana, the Defense Ministry said. Another two people were found dead and removed from the rubble of a building in Thumane, while one person died after jumping from his home to escape shaking from the quake in Kurbin, 50 kilometers north of the capital.
Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said some 300 injured people were treated in Durres, Tirana and Thumane.
All government agencies are on alert and “intensively working to save lives at the fatal spots in Durres and Thumane,” Rama said.
“It is a dramatic moment where we should preserve calm, stay alongside each other to cope with this shock,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
The quake was felt along the Albanian coast.
Authorities reported scores of aftershocks and called on people in the most affected areas to stay out of their homes and avoid driving in the affected areas to allow emergency vehicles free access. Many reported seeing cracks in their apartment walls.
At least three apartment buildings and the power distribution station were damaged in Thumane.
An earthquake in September in roughly the same area damaged hundreds of homes.


Southern Philippines hit by 6.8 magnitude earthquake

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago

Southern Philippines hit by 6.8 magnitude earthquake

  • Quake was centered 61 kilometers southwest of Davao on the island of Mindanao
  • President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao, was in the city when the quake struck

MANILA: A strong earthquake struck near the Philippine city of Davao on Sunday, killing a child, damaging buildings and causing several injuries, officials said, the latest in a series of tremors to strike the southern part of the country in recent months.

The magnitude 6.8 quake was centered 61 kilometers southwest of Davao on the island of Mindanao, at a depth of 28.2km, the US Geological Survey said, revising down the magnitude from an earlier 6.9.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat from the quake, based on available data.

Vincent Fernandez, the mayor of Matanao town in Davao del Sur province, near the epicenter, told Radio DZMM that a six-year-old girl had died after a wall collapsed on her.

Fernandez said the extent of the damage was not yet clear but authorities needed food, water and tarpaulins and blankets to help residents.

Anthony Allada, public information officer of nearby Magsaysay Town, said 14 people were injured but none seriously. Roads and buildings, including the local government office, were damaged and power was out in the town, he said.

The region was shaken by four powerful quakes in October and November, which together killed at least 20 people.

“We don’t know what to do anymore. Do we respond first or attend to our families first?”, Allada told Radio DZMM.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is from Davao, was in the city when the quake struck.

“He is ok. He and his daughter Kitty were in their house when the quake struck,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said. “First Lady Honeylet was on her way home when the ground trembled. She said her car was swaying. She is unhurt.”

A three-story building collapsed in the town of Padada, in Davao del Sur, the local disaster agency reported. Authorities said some people were inside the building, which housed a grocery market, and a rescue effort was underway.

“I saw the building when it fell,” Leighton Angcan, a resident of Padada told Reuters. It was the tallest here and it was really destroyed. I saw people running outside.”

Video footage posted by users on Twitter showed overhead electrical wires swaying and erupting in a shower of sparks. Another video showed water sloshing out of a hotel swimming pool.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said damage and aftershocks could be expected.

Several strong aftershocks were recorded after the main tremor, the strongest a magnitude 5.7 centered north of General Santos City.

The Philippines sits on the geologically active Pacific “Ring of Fire” and experiences frequent tremors.


Watch video showing water in a hotel pool splashing during the earthquake: