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30 Nov 2019 | 10:49 PM UTC

Albania: Government ceases search and rescue operations November 29 /update 6

Government ceases search and rescue operations as of November 29; officials confirm at least 51 fatalities as of November 30

environment
transportation
ALB

Event

The Albanian government has ceased search and rescue operations as of Friday, November 29, following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck near Tirana during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 26. Officials have confirmed at least 51 fatalities as of Saturday, November 30, mostly in Durrës and Thumane. Over 650 people also suffered injuries and thousands are homeless in the region. An EU Civil Protection Team is still operating in Tirana and Durrës to assess damage and deliver relief items, with support from structural engineering teams from Greece, Italy, France, and Switzerland. 

Prime Minister Edi Rama declared a 30-day state of emergency in Durrës and Thumane on Wednesday, November 27, and has promised to rebuild the destroyed homes by the end of the year. In Tirana, some residents are sleeping in tents or their vehicles until engineers have declared their buildings safe. 

According to media reports, there have been over 500 aftershocks since the quake on Tuesday, including some registering over 5.0-magnitude. Further aftershocks and collapsing infrastructure are possible in the coming days.

Context

The US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded the earthquake northwest of Shijak, near Tirana, at around 03:54 on November 26 at a depth of 10 km (6 mi).

Advice

Individuals in the region are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the affected areas, 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.