TODAY |

At least six people dead after strong earthquake shakes Albania

A strong earthquake shook Albania today, killing at least six people, injuring 300 and collapsing buildings.

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At least six people have died and 300 are injured in the quake which struck at 4.00am local time. Source: Associated Press

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.4 quake, which struck just before 4.00 am local time, had an epicentre 30 kilometres northwest of the capital, Tirana, at a depth of 20 kilometres.

Albanian President Ilir Meta said the situation in the town of Thumane, closest to the epicentre, was “very dramatic.”

"All efforts are being done to take the people out of the ruins,” he said.

Defence Ministry spokeswoman Albana Qehajaj said the bodies of two people were taken out of a collapsed building in the coastal city of Durres, 33 kilometres west of the capital Tirana.

One more person had been found dead in the same building earlier in the morning, while two bodies were removed from the rubble of a collapsed building in Thumane.

Another person died after jumping from his home to escape shaking from the quake in Kurbin, 50 kilometres north of the capital, the Defence Ministry said.

Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said some 300 injured people were treated in Durres, Tirana and Thumane.

The quake was felt along the Albanian coast.

People stand next to a damaged building after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Durres, western Albania. Source: Associated Press

Authorities reported scores of aftershocks and called on people in the most affected areas to stay out of their homes. Many reported seeing cracks in their apartment walls.

At least three apartment buildings and the power distribution station were damaged in Thumane.

An earthquake in September in roughly the same area damaged hundreds of homes.