Deadly magnitude earthquake hits Albania

At least 18 people have been killed after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Albania, the defence ministry says.

The quake brought down buildings and left people trapped under rubble. One man died after jumping from a window in panic after the tremor struck.

The quake hit 34km (21 miles) north-west of the capital, Tirana, in the early hours of Tuesday.

Hours later, a separate earthquake struck the city of Mostar in Bosnia. There were no reports of casualties.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said rescuers would “continue to search patiently and thoroughly to the end”.

“We have victims. We are working to do everything possible in the affected areas,” he wrote on Twitter.

Soldiers, police and emergency workers have been searching through the debris of buildings, where people are still believed to be trapped. So far, some 42 survivors have been extracted from the ruins, according to officials.

The majority of fatalities occurred in the coastal city of Durres and in the town of Thumane, 40km to the north-west of Tirana and close to the epicentre, according to the defence ministry.

In neighbouring Kurbin, a man died after jumping from his building in panic, and another died in a car accident when the earthquake tore open parts of the road he was on, AFP reported the ministry as saying.

More than 600 people have been treated in hospital, Albanian state media reported.

Emergency workers told Albanian media that one of the dead was an elderly woman who had managed to save her grandson by cradling him with her body.

A man in Durres told local news channel News24 that his daughter and niece were among those trapped inside a collapsed apartment building.

“I talked with my daughter and niece on the phone. They said they are well and waiting for the rescue. Could not talk to my wife. There are other families, but I could not talk to them.”

Two of those killed in Durres were brothers from Kosovo working in the city, Kosovo’s minister of foreign affairs confirmed on social media. He said the country would have a day of mourning in their honour.

Rescuers in Durres were also seen trying to free a young boy trapped in the rubble. -BBC

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