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Earthquake in Albania Earthquake in Albania  (AFP or licensors)

Over a dozen killed in Albania's worst quake in decades

Albanian authorities say at least 14 people have died and 600 were injured in the most powerful earthquake to hit impoverished Albania in decades. The quake was also felt in several other Balkan nations, prompting the European Union to offer assistance to Albania.

By Stefan J. Bos

Many residents were believed to be buried under the rubble here after Tuesday's massive earthquake rocked the capital Tirana and western and northern areas.

Albanian rescue workers were desperately searching for survivors between several destroyed buildings.

The quake collapsed at least three apartment buildings while people slept. Rescue crews were working to free people feared trapped.
But for many help has come too late.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report

EU concerned

The European Union closely monitors the situation. The EU's executive European Commission expressed its solidarity with Albania.  

Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva made clear that the EU stands ready with emergency aid should it be required. "We are all very shocked by the earthquake which occurred in Albania last night," she stressed.

She said the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides "issued a declaration expressing our condolences and offering our solidarity to Albania."
   
Albania's 6.4 magnitude quake was also felt elsewhere in the southern Balkans, followed by multiple aftershocks.

More tremors 

In nearby Bosnia-Herzegovina, another earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 reportedly struck southeast of the capital and rattled Sarajevo.

There were no immediate reports of casualties and only minor damage in that earthquake.

The Albanian quake was also felt in southern Italy.

Albania's quake comes at an awkward. The Balkan country of three million people is already among Europe's most impoverished nations, and its infrastructure is lacking in several areas.

26 November 2019, 18:11