Government officials confirmed that at least 18 people have been killed and another 600 injured following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck near Tirana during the early morning hours (local time) of Tuesday, November 26. Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing as of Tuesday evening to free people believed to be trapped under collapsed apartment buildings and hotels; at least five buildings collapsed in Durres and one other in Thumane. All flights out of Tirana International Airport (TIA) have reportedly been suspended due to damage at the facility. Schools in Tirana, Durres, and Lezhë have been closed indefinitely.
Multiple aftershocks have been reported in the region as of 09:00 on Tuesday. Further aftershocks are possible in the coming hours and days.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded the earthquake northwest of Shijak, near Tirana, at around 03:54 (local time) at a depth of 10 km (6 mi).
Individuals in the region are advised to monitor the situation, confirm flight reservations, and prepare for potential aftershocks.
In the event of aftershocks, individuals are advised to protect themselves as much as possible from falling debris if indoors (e.g. under a table), move away from the windows, and not attempt to leave a building unless there is an immediate danger. If outdoors, move away from tall buildings, utility wires, and streetlights.