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'Most powerful earthquake in 30 years' rocks Albania

Sunday, September 22nd 2019, 10:27 am - Damage and injuries were reported in the wake of the quake.

TIRANA (Reuters) - Residents of Albania's capital surveyed damage on Sunday (September 22), after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.6 and an aftershock only slightly weaker shook the city on Saturday (September 21).

The Defence Ministry said it was the most powerful quake in Albania in the last 30 years. The Health Ministry said 105 people had been treated for injuries in Tirana and Durres.

A total of 562 houses had various degrees of damage and 34 apartment buildings had cracks, which would be inspected by engineers to see if there was structural damages, official figures showed.

"All our neighbors came out screaming. Thank God it did not last long - about 20 seconds. It was a nightmare on the 10th floor. I don't remember a more powerful one than this," a pensioner in Tirana called Agim, 67, told Reuters.

Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said 68 people had been treated for injuries in Tirana and Durres. Most were hurt while dashing out of their homes in panic.

Many of them have been discharged after treatment, she said.

"Fewer people are coming to the hospitals (after the first rush)," Manastirliu told reporters.

2019-09-21T191905Z 2 LYNXMPEF8K0RB RTROPTP 4 ALBANIA-QUAKE Destroyed cars stand next to a damaged building after an earthquake in Tirana, Albania, September 21, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

The U.S. Geological Survey gave the quake an initial magnitude of 5.6, while the Albanian Geosciences Institute reported it as registering 5.8 with an aftershock 11 minutes later measuring 5.3.

(Reporting by Benet Koleka; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


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