Albania quake has 340 aftershocks, people afraid to go home

International

Damaged cars outside the Faculty of Geology building after an earthquake in Tirana, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Albania’s government and news reports say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 shook in the country’s west and injured at least two people. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Fear and safety hazards kept many residents of Albania’s capital of Tirana and the port city of Durres out of their homes Sunday after an earthquake the day before injured 105 people and damaged hundreds of buildings.

Albania’s Institute of Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment said more than 340 aftershocks have followed the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Saturday afternoon near Durres.

About 600 houses, most built before 1990, suffered damage in the quake, which also temporarily knocked out power and water facilities in Tirana, Durres and some western and central districts, authorities said.

The U.S. Geological Survey and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center recorded the rupture on Albania’s western Adriatic Sea coast as a magnitude 5.6 quake.

It was felt along the western coast and far to the east. Many people ran outdoors when the quake hit at 4:04 p.m. At least 500 spent the night in temporary shelters.

Inspectors evaluated damaged structures Sunday. Some Tirana residents were kept out of damaged homes deemed unsafe.

“Luckily, oil wells were not damaged.” Defense Minister Olta Xhacka said.

In Durres, residents afraid of going back into their homes and apartments planned to spend a second night away. Army troops put up tents at a soccer stadium where food and a medical team were sent.

Authorities also sent counsellors to every family coping with post-quake fear. Education Minister Besa Shahini said all schools would be closed Monday in Tirana, Durres and Elbasan, the places the earthquake hit hardest. She said 98 schools had damage but only two were declared unsafe.

“People are not ready emotionally (to send children to school),” Shahini said.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said he had phone calls from his Italian, French, German and other European counterparts offering assistance.

Located along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania is earthquake-prone and registers seismic activity every few days.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Man indicted with allegedly assaulting terminally ill father

Thumbnail for the video titled "Man indicted with allegedly assaulting terminally ill father"

Vernon city employees still uncertain about being able to carry

Thumbnail for the video titled "Vernon city employees still uncertain about being able to carry"

Cell phone case that feels like human skin

Thumbnail for the video titled "Cell phone case that feels like human skin"

KFDX "Cutest Kid in Costume" contest

Thumbnail for the video titled "KFDX "Cutest Kid in Costume" contest"

Wichita Falls Community Foundation celebrates 20 years of service

Thumbnail for the video titled "Wichita Falls Community Foundation celebrates 20 years of service"

Flu Shots and PCP's

Thumbnail for the video titled "Flu Shots and PCP's"

Officials hope to keep school buses "the safest form of student transportation"

Thumbnail for the video titled "Officials hope to keep school buses "the safest form of student transportation""

Vernon City Commission meeting

Thumbnail for the video titled "Vernon City Commission meeting"

Yoga enthusiasts stretch their way to a cure

Thumbnail for the video titled "Yoga enthusiasts stretch their way to a cure"

Best Buy

Thumbnail for the video titled "Best Buy"

Longtime philanthropist Kay Dillard passes away

Thumbnail for the video titled "Longtime philanthropist Kay Dillard passes away"

Homeless man arrested after allegedly assaulting children with gun

Thumbnail for the video titled "Homeless man arrested after allegedly assaulting children with gun"