Albanian earthquake toll rises to seven

Albanian earthquake toll rises to seven

Albania’s defense minister says the death toll from a strong earthquake that struck before dawn has risen to seven.

Olta Xhacka said Tuesday that the latest victim died in an accident on a road cut off by debris in northwestern Lezha.

She said that the 3.55 a.m. 6.4-magnitude quake was followed by a 5.5-magnitude tremor minutes later and there have been more than 100 aftershocks since then.

The entire army is on alert and assistance is coming from other countries.

Xhacka said that “a number of people are still under the collapsed buildings,” but was unable to give any figure on them or on damaged buildings countrywide.

All schools have suspended lessons for two days.

Albania’s prime minister says neighboring countries, the European Union and the United States have all offered immediate support following the strong earthquake that has killed at least six people and injured hundreds.
Edi Rama said Tuesday he had phone calls from his Greek, Italian and Turkish counterparts and also the EU and US embassies in Tirana.

The quake collapsed at least three apartment buildings while people slept, and rescue crews were working to free people believed trapped in the rubble. There was no indication as to how many people might still be buried. [AP]

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