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Rescuers in Albania use drones and dogs to find quake victims

Updated: 2019-11-28 10:14

THUMANE/DURRES, Albania - Emergency crews using drones, dogs and diggers recovered five more bodies on Wednesday from the rubble of Albania's worst earthquake in decades, bringing the death toll to at least 27.

Italian firefighters work at the site of a collapsed building in the town of Durres, following Tuesday's powerful earthquake that shook Albania, November 27, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

In the town of Thumane, close to the centre of Tuesday's 6.4 magnitude quake, a woman stood in front of a collapsed building calling out for help to find her niece.

Rescue workers found several bodies soon after sunrise and in the afternoon, food was distributed to thousands of people in Thumane, many still awaiting for news of family and friends.

A 5.3 magnitude quake struck just off Albania's coast on Wednesday afternoon 38 km (24 miles) from the capital Tirana, where some shaken by the tremor shut their shops.

The Defence Ministry also briefly suspended all rescue efforts following the sizeable aftershock.

In one of the busiest streets in Albania's main port and tourist resort of Durres, two people were feared trapped in the rubble of a collapsed hotel.

"We don't know whether they are alive or not," said Mert Eryuksel, a rescue worker from Turkey.

Temperatures in Albania were expected to remain well above 10 degrees Celsius (50°F) in the coming days but rain forecast for Thursday could hamper the rescue efforts.

Countrywide, the Defence Ministry said about 650 people had been injured and another 20 reported missing.

If the death toll continues to rise, the earthquake could be more deadly than one in 1979 when 40 people were killed.

The quake, centred 30 km west of Tirana, was felt across the Balkans and in the southern Italian region of Puglia, across the Adriatic Sea from Albania.

Located along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas between Greece and Montenegro, Albania is prone to seismic activity. A quake measuring 6.0 also jolted the Greek island of Crete on Wednesday though no damage or injuries were reported.

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