Albania was rattled by its strongest earthquake in decades on Saturday, September 21, 2019.
The M5.6 earthquake hit 6km N of Durres and sent people fleeing into the streets in several cities, damaging buildings and triggering power cuts in the capital Tirana.
The epicentre of the shallow 5.6-magnitude quake, was near Durres, less than 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the capital Tirana.
Albania’s defence ministry said it was the “strongest earthquake in the country in the last 20 to 30 years. There are no deaths.“
Some 80 people sought medical help in both Tirana and Durres, 21 of whom were hospitalised due to injuries caused by falling objects or parts of walls as well as for panic attacks.
Houses and buildings in Tirana had been damaged but were still standing and that the ministry was accessing damage in other towns and villages.
#Breaking: At least 80 people injured in #Albania after a earthquake of a 5.6 magnitude, shook the region of Durres in the country ripping apartment building in half and crushing cars as buildings collapsed. pic.twitter.com/60gTwCaQGZ— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) September 21, 2019
Prime Minister Edi Rama cancelled his scheduled trip to the United States following the quake, which cut electricity and telephone lines in Tirana and a number of other towns and villages.
Many people remained outside their homes for several hours in the capital, fearful of aftershocks.
Falling debris pulverised parked cars in parts of the city. Reporter report windows broken and deep fissures in the facades of buildings in Durres, as well as in the capital.
Media reported that a large building in Tirana was seriously damaged and that residents were being evacuated.
A University of Tirana building was also damaged, witnesses said.
At least two people were lightly injured and a dozen houses collapsed in the village of Helmes, 10 kilometres from Tirana.
Two other earthquakes followed the strong one that occurred at around 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) and was felt in neighbouring Montenegro and Italy, but also on the Greek island of Corfu.
Always be preprared! The next Big One could occur just around your corner. Stay safe!