A powerful shock of 6.4 magnitude was felt in the night north-west of the capital Tirana, followed by several aftershocks.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Albania on the night of Monday to Tuesday at 2:54. The provisional toll is at least 13 dead and more than 600 wounded. The previous record was six dead and 300 wounded.

The epicenter was located in the Adriatic Sea, between Albania and Italy, 34 km north-west of the capital Tirana. Its depth is 10 km, according to the Euro-Mediterranean seismological center .

This map from the United States Institute of Geological Survey ( USGS ) shows the location of this earthquake.

USGS  

“The damage is considerable,” said Albana Qajahaj, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense. In Durrës, a three-story hotel collapsed and another building in the city center is badly damaged. Damage is also reported in Thumane, 30 km northwest of Tirana, a town particularly affected.

According to the Ministry of Defense, a man killed himself in Kurbin by jumping panicked from his building. The bodies of five people were removed from the rubble at Thumane and the coastal town of Durres.

The authorities mobilized some 300 soldiers to take part in relief operations in Durrës and Thumane. About 1900 police officers were also deployed.

At the beginning of the day, among the wounded, at least 150 slightly affected have presented themselves in the hospitals of Tirana and Durres, according to the Albanian Minister of Health, Ogerta Manasterliu.

This earthquake was followed minutes later by several aftershocks, including a quake of magnitude 5.3, according to the Euro-Mediterranean seismological center. At 6:08, a replica of 5.4 was felt .

The first tremor was recorded in all the Balkans, in the Serbian cities of Sarajevo (about 400 km away) and Novi Sad (about 700 km away), but also in Bosnia.

The Balkans are an area of ​​strong seismic activity and earthquakes are frequent. In September, Albania was shaken by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake, described by the authorities of the strongest earthquake of the “last 20 to 30 years”. That of Tuesday becomes the most powerful since 1926.