The 6.4 magnitude quake struck the country on Tuesday 26TH.
According to the first official data provided by the Ministry of Defense, the earthquake caused 9 deaths and 600 injuries. However, the Albanian media reports 13 victims’ dead.
The victims found by rescue workers were in Durres, a coastal town located 40 kilometers from the capital that was the closest to the epicenter of the earthquake, but also in Thumana and Kurbin – two small towns north of Tirana, according to the Defense minister Olta Xhacka.
Most of the victims died when their buildings collapsed after the earthquake strike. In addition, one man died in Kurbin by throwing himself from the porch of his home while being rescued, while one other person lost control of the car.
The victims include a 10-year-old girl who was found lifeless under the rubble of a building, in Durres, and a young man from Thumana, who had just been released from prison.
According to the Albanian health authorities, around 600 people have received medical care in Tirana, Durres, Kruja, Kurbin and Lezha hospitals. Three of them are in serious condition and one of them has already had surgery.
So far, rescuers have managed to rescue 28 people from the rubble.
The minister appealed to the citizens not to travel in their private cars to avoid blocking traffic and ambulances.
Currently, 400 members of the Military Forces are on the ground and the entire army is on alert.
Olta Xhacka has informed that the rescue work is being particularly complicated by the debris removal that is being carried out on buildings that are still partially standing under the risk of being collapsed.
The earthquake was felt around 02:54AM (1:54AM in London) and residents of Tirana ran on the streets in panic, according to a France-Presse news correspondent.
The epicenter was registered in the Adriatic Sea, 34 kilometers northwest of the country’s capital, Tirana, at a depth of 10 kilometers, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center.
“The damage is substantial,” said the officials.
A three-floor hotel in Durres, one of the country’s most important hotels in town, collapsed while another downtown building was badly damaged.
At least three apartment buildings and the power distribution station were damaged in Thumane.
A few minutes later this earthquake was followed by several aftershocks, including one with the magnitude of 5.3, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Center.
See images of the worst earthquake shaking Albania in decades.