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27 Nov 2019 | 11:07 PM UTC

Albania: Government declares state of emergency in two counties November 27 /update 4

Government declares state of emergency in Tirana and Durrës counties on November 27 as death toll rises from earthquake; rescue operations ongoing

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transportation
ALB

Event

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama declared a state of emergency in Tirana and Durrës counties as of the morning (local time) of Wednesday, November 27, following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck near Tirana during the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 26. The state of emergency allows for extraordinary measures including the use of state property for shelter and modifications to budget allocations. Government officials confirmed that at least 35 people have been killed, 650 injured, and a further 20 are missing. Rescue and recovery operations are ongoing on Wednesday to free people believed to be trapped under collapsed apartment buildings and hotels. Flight operations have resumed at Tirana International Airport (TIA) although there may be lingering disruptions including delays or cancelations in the coming days. Schools in Tirana, Durrës, and Lezhë have been closed indefinitely. 

Multiple aftershocks have been reported in the region from Tuesday through Wednesday. 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 (local time) at a depth of 10 km (6 mi).

Advice

Individuals in the region are advised to monitor the situation, confirm flight reservations, 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.