Recently, the country of Albania was stuck by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. The quake has destroyed buildings and left people trapped under the city’s rubble. So far, at least 16 people have died, and the city is scrambling to recover.
Albania is a small country located in the Balkan Peninsula of Southeastern Europe. The country is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on on side, and Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Montenegro on the others.
The earthquake’s epicenter was about 20 miles northwest of Tirana, the country’s capital city. The quake struck at around 4:00 am local time on Tuesday, November 26, 2019. It stuck about 15 miles northeast of Durrës, a city located along the coast.
The earthquake could even be felt 200 miles from north in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia. The quake was also felt in the Puglia region of southern Italy, located across the Adriatic Sea from Albania. Just a few hours after the earthquake in Albania, there was a separate earthquake in Mostar, Bosnia. There have not been any reports of casualties so far.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the damage is likely to be very widespread. Past earthquakes of similar magnitudes have required regional or national level responses. The group also guesses that economic damages may cost over $100 million.
Some of the city’s buildings have been completely destroyed. There are many victims. So far, over 600 people have been treated in hospitals in Tirana and Durrës. Schools were also closed for the day as the city begins its journey to recovery. Emergency workers, including army staff and firefighters, have been working hard to rescue people trapped under the city’s rubble. According to Besar Likmeta, a journalist in Durrës, describes how firefighters have had to use their bare hands and are working to cut through concrete and iron slabs. They still don’t know how many people are missing.
Although the Balkan region is prone to seismic activity, this is the worst earthquake that has struck the country in decades. The last major quake took place in 1979. The 6.9 earthquake left 136 people dead and over 1,000 injured.
Several nations including Italy, Greece, France, and Turkey have offered to help Albania through rescue and recovery efforts. Albania’s recovery will take a significant amount of time as the country rebuilds and adjusts to life after the earthquake.