Albania declares day of mourning as quake kills 21, injures over 600

Baku, November 27, AZERTAC

The most powerful earthquake to strike the country in decades shakes the capital Tirana and the country's west and north, tearing down buildings and burying residents under rubble, according to TRT World.

Albanian rescuers were digging through rubble in search of survivors on Tuesday after the strongest earthquake in decades levelled buildings and trapped victims under the debris, claiming at least 21 lives and injuring more than 600 people.

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 0254GMT, with an epicentre 34 kilometres northwest of the capital, Tirana, in the Adriatic Sea, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said more than 600 people had been treated for injuries, including nine hospitalised with life-threatening injuries.

"It is a dramatic moment where we should preserve calm, (and) stay alongside each other to cope with this shock," Prime Minister Edi Rama said.

The Balkan country was jolted by 100 aftershocks after the main tremor, two of them of magnitude 5, testing strained nerves.

The government declared an official day of mourning for Wednesday, with Albanian flags on official buildings to fly at half-staff. Schools would remain closed until Monday, as Thursday and Friday were national holidays. The country's soccer federation announced all matches would be cancelled for the rest of the week.

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