Albania rocked by 340 aftershocks, schools kept closed in Tirana, Durres and Elbasan

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Albania’s Institute of Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment said more than 340 aftershocks have followed the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Saturday afternoon near Durres.

Education Minister Besa Shahini said all schools would be closed Monday in Tirana, Durres and Elbasan, the places the earthquake hit hardest. She said 98 schools had damage but only two were declared unsafe.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said he had phone calls from his Italian, French, German and other European counterparts offering assistance.

Earthquake aftermath in Albania
 A house damaged by the earthquake in the village Zhur near the capital Tirana, Albania EPA-EFE/MALTON DIBRA

Fear and safety hazards kept many residents of Albania’s capital of Tirana and the port city of Durres out of their homes after an earthquake on Friday injured 105 people and damaged hundreds of buildings.

About 600 houses suffered damage in the quake, which also temporarily knocked out power and water facilities in Tirana, Durres and some western and central districts, authorities said.

Earthquake aftermath in Albania
 People affected by the earthquake stay at a temporary shelter in Durres, Albania. EPA-EFE/MALTON DIBRA

At least 500 spent the night in temporary shelters. In Durres residents are afraid of going back into their homes and apartments and troops put up tents at a soccer stadium where food and a medical team were sent.

The U.S. Geological Survey and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center recorded the rupture on Albania’s western Adriatic Sea coast as a magnitude 5.6 quake.

It was felt along the western coast and far to the east.

Via TIME

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