30 People Dead, Rescue Efforts Underway After 6.4-Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Albania

The quake was centred 30km (19 miles) west of Tirana [Visar Kryeziu/AP]

Italian rescue teams were trying on Wednesday to save six family members, including twin toddlers, trapped under rubble when their house collapsed after Albania’s worst earthquake in decades.

The death toll from Tuesday’s quake rose to 30 as rescue workers dug through the remains of the four-storey house in the Adriatic port city of Durres.

Nine members of the Lala family were initially trapped but a boy of 17 was pulled out alive on Tuesday and the bodies of a 79-year-old woman and an eight-year-old girl have been recovered.

The rescue workers, watched by relatives and the twins’ father, believe two girls aged 18 months, two boys of six and seven, a 16-year-old girl and a disabled man of 52 are still under the rubble.

Teams of soldiers, police and emergency workers sifted through the debris of shredded apartment blocks and hotels in towns near Albania‘s northwest Adriatic coast, close to the epicentre of the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that rattled the country.

Most of those found dead were pulled from rubble in the coastal city of Durres and Thumane, a town north of the capital, Tirana.

In neighbouring Kurbin, a man in his 50s died in the morning after jumping from his building. Another perished in a car accident after the earthquake tore open parts of the road, the defence ministry said.

In Thumane, locals watching emergency workers comb over a collapsed building shouted the names of their loved ones still inside: “Mira!”, “Ariela!”, “Selvije!”.

Dulejman Kolaveri, a man in his 50s in Thumane, told AFP news agency he feared his 70-year-old mother and six-year-old niece were trapped inside the five-storey apartment because they lived on the top floor.

“I don’t know if they are dead or alive. I’m afraid of their fate … only God knows,” he said with trembling hands.

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SOURCE: Al Jazeera