Albania marks 107 years of Independence under earthquake distress

Albania marks 107 years of Independence under earthquake distress
  At least 40 people have died and hundreds more have been injured by earthquakes that hit Albania in the past two days, while the namber of the deaths is increasing from moment to moment. Hundreds of people spent the second night in ruins, in tents or cars, following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful in decades that hit Albania in the early hours of November 26, about 30 kilometers northwest of Tirana. 

Rescuers from more than 10 countries joined Albanian teams on November 27th to search for people who may have been left in ruins. Most of the casualties were in the town of Durres and the town of Thumane. The highest number of casualties is in Thumana, where two buildings collapsed and 23 people were killed. Sixteen more people lost their lives in some areas of Durres, in a six-story building collapsed in the city, in two dilapidated hotels in the Beach area and a house in the former Keneta area, where three brothers and their families lived . The victims so far are 4 children, from 3 to 8 years old.

Albania today marks the 107th anniversary of the declaration of independence, a day that finds the country in panic. The country's president, Ilir Meta, said he found the day in mourning and called on citizens to stand together to help the families affected by the earthquake.

"On this day that is most important for our state and nation, but that found us in mourning and in the battle with the terrible consequences of a ruthless earthquake, I invite you to commit to honoring our National Flag and to stand united until in restoring the full normality of life for all Albanian families and their children”, Meta said.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a Facebook post that the Flag Day found Albania in the dark. “The Red and Black Flag Day came into the darkness that surrounds us temporarily before the sun rises up. God bless Albania, all Albanians without distinction, wherever they are regardless of their beliefs and the most beautiful flag in the world, of course," Rama writes.

Even the opposition leader, Lulzim Basha, has said that on the occasion of the 107th anniversary of independence "the thoughts and prayers of the Albanians" are with the injured and the families of the victims.

“Tuesday morning, as Albanians we prepared to commemorate the 107th anniversary of Independence, a terrible earthquake hit our country. We still do not know the full extent of the damage. What we know so far is that dozens of Albanians have tragically lost their lives in ruins, hundreds have been injured and their homes destroyed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured, those who suffer and with the families who have suffered the most pain, the loss of their dear people,” Basha said.

On the other hand, in addition to the condolences telegrams, countries around the world have come to the aid of Albania with monetary and food donations. Even outgoing European Commission President Jean Claude Junker has sent a letter to Prime Minister Edi Rama and President Ilir Meta, expressing condolences to earthquake victims and confirming the European Union's support to Albania in these difficult times for the country.

"I learned with great sadness about the devastation caused by the earthquake in Albania, the second in the last two months. I would like to express my deep condolences to the victims, their families and all the citizens of Albania. The European Union solidifies with Albania in these tragic moments and you can count on our help."

Another 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck Albania at 3:45 pm Wednesday, causing further movement of the ruins of already collapsed buildings. The quake was in the Adriatic Sea, 24 kilometers north of Durres, at a depth of 10 kilometers. The Red Cross in Albania has said about 2,500 people have been displaced. As a result of this situation, Albania has declared a state of emergency. Albania's Energy, Water and Environment have announced that the country has been hit by 523 earthquakes since the big hit of 6.3 magnitude of Tuesday morning. Four more powerful tremors have been of 4.5 magnitude earthquakes including the main with a magnitude of 6.3.
Albania marks 107 years of Independence under earthquake distress Albania marks 107 years of Independence under earthquake distress Thursday, November 28, 2019 Rating: 5
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