x

Society

Search in Albania Quake Reduced, Death Toll at 49

November 30, 2019

TIRANA — The operation to find survivors and recover bodies from Albania’s deadly earthquake was winding down Friday, with rescue crews limiting their efforts to a collapsed beachfront hotel in the port town of Durres as the death toll climbed to 49.

Albanian, Serb and Montenegrin rescue crews were working through the ruins of the hotel, where one person was still believed to be missing, Defense Ministry spokeswoman Albana Qehajaj said. Neighboring countries and European Union nations rushed in rescue crews and specialized equipment hours after the quake struck.

About 2,000 people were injured in Tuesday’s 6.4-magnitude pre-dawn quake, said Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu, after information was collected from hospitals, small health centers, homes and those now staying in tents.

The most seriously affected areas were Durres, 33 kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital, Tirana, and the nearby town of Thumane. The search operation in Thumane ended Wednesday, and mourners were preparing to bury some of the victims of the earthquake in a series of funerals on Friday.

The earthquake struck as people slept, and nearly all of those killed were trapped when their apartment buildings or hotels they were staying in collapsed on top of them. Hundreds of aftershocks, with at least three of magnitudes greater than 5, have rattled the country and complicated rescue efforts.

Apart from the buildings that collapsed, Prime Minister Edi Rama said preliminary figures showed about 700 buildings in Durres and more than 235 in Tirana were seriously damaged.

“Now comes the hard time for us, with nonstop work to bring life back to normal,” said Rama, who said he had appealed for international help in reconstruction efforts. He has vowed to re-house all those left homeless “in better living conditions than before the quake,” within a year.

Greece said it was responding to Rama’s appeal for help by sending a specialized 16-member team of engineers from the country’s natural disaster relief agency to help in reconstruction on Friday. The team was to fly to Albania on a military plane that would bring back the two teams of Greek disaster response firefighters that have been working in search-and-rescue efforts since Tuesday afternoon.

“The priority now is shelter, food and care for any homeless citizen,” said Albanian Defense Minister Olta Xhacka, adding engineers have begun assessing damaged homes. Preliminary estimates put the number of people left homeless by the quake at 4,000.

“No one will remain in the street,” she said.

About 500 people spent a third night in tents in Thumane, while a total of about 2,000 people from Durres and Thumane were moved to temporary accommodation in hotels, schools and sports halls.

RELATED

ATHENS - ​​It’s no surprise to anyone who’s seen drivers on Greek roads blasting through stop signs and red lights, nearly careening at high speeds and motorcycles weaving in and out - that it’s often deadly.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ Address to the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress

WASHINGOTN - The full text of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech to the Joint Session of the US Congress is as follows: Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President, Honorable Members of the United States Congress, Ladies and Gentlemen, There is no greater honor for the elected leader of the people who created democracy than to address the elected representatives of the people who founded their country on the Greek model and have promoted and defended democratic values ever since.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.