13 dead, 135 injured in powerful Albania quake
TIRANA/THUMANE: The most powerful earthquake to hit Albania in decades shook the capital Tirana and the country's west and north yesterday, tearing down buildings and burying residents under rubble.
As of press time, at least 13 people were reported dead and 135 injured. One man died after jumping from a window in panic.
Residents fled apartment buildings in Tirana and the western Port of Durres after the 6.4-magnitude quake struck shortly before 4am (11am Singapore time).
In the northern town of Thumane, Ms Marjana Gjoka, 48, was sleeping in her apartment when the quake struck.
"The roof collapsed on our head and I don't know how we escaped. God helped us," said Ms Gjoka, whose three-year-old niece was among the four people in the apartment.
Firefighters, police and civilians were removing the debris from collapsed buildings in Thumane. Most of the buildings that collapsed were built of bricks, a Reuters reporter said.
Rescuers used a mechanical digger to claw at collapsed masonry and remove a tangle of metal and cables. Others groped with bare hands to clear rubble.
The quake was centred 30km west of Tirana, the US Geological Survey said, and was also felt across the Balkans and in the southern Italian region of Puglia.
Hours later, a magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit Bosnia, with an epicentre 75km south of Sarajevo. There were no immediate reports of injuries. - REUTERS