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Rescuers race to find Albania quake survivors

The death toll from the powerful earthquake has risen to 26.

People watch as rescuers search a damaged building in Durres (Visar Kryeziu/AP)
People watch as rescuers search a damaged building in Durres (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Local and international rescue crews have been searching through the rubble of collapsed buildings, a day after a deadly earthquake in Albania killed at least 26 people.

Overnight, authorities said four more people had been confirmed dead, raising the death toll to 25, while more than 600 people were injured in the magnitude-6.4 quake that struck the country’s coastal cities.

In Durres, Albania’s second-largest city, on the Adriatic Sea, residents slept in tents and cars and at a football stadium as powerful aftershocks from the earthquake continued.

Others spent the night on open ground, huddling around fires to stay warm.

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A man watches as rescuers search a damaged building in Durres, western Albania (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Flags were flying at half-mast on public buildings around the country on Wednesday as Albania observed a national day of mourning.

Prime Minister Edi Rama thanked neighbour Greece and other countries offering support.

“We feel good to not be alone and I’m very grateful to all our friends,” Mr Rama said late on Tuesday, visiting Durres with Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias.

Rescue teams and other disaster experts arrived from more than a dozen countries including France, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, and the United States.

In the nearby town of Thumane, Kristina Margjini also spent the night outdoors.

“The quake left us without shelter. Everything we have is destroyed: The apartment, windows, everything, and we cannot live there anymore,” she said.

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A makeshift camp at a football field in Durres (Hektor Pustina/AP)

Among those desperate for news was police officer Ajet Peci, whose two daughters were killed in an apartment block collapse in the port city of Durres.

His wife is still missing.

“How can I live?” Mr Peci said, as he was consoled by neighbours. “I don’t know what I did to make it out. I wish I had stayed with them.”

The quake in Albania Tuesday was followed by a smaller one in nearby southern Bosnia and another temblor on Wednesday off the coast of the island of Crete in Greece.

PA

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