November 26, 2019 - The Institute for Hydrometeorology and Seismology of Montenegro registered a devastating earthquake with the epicenter 12 km southeast of Durres, Albania, at 3.54 am on Tuesday, November 26. The quake killed six people and injured more than 300. After such a strong earthquake, an extensive series of earthquakes can be expected, suggest experts.
The magnitude of this earthquake at the epicenter was 6.1 units of the Richter scale, corresponding to the epicentral intensity of VIII-IX degrees of the Mercalli scale (MCS). The focal point of this earthquake was at a depth of 12 km.
The quake that hit Albania this morning was also strongly felt in Montenegro, as well as in other Western Balkan countries and Italy. It is the strongest instrumentally recorded earthquake in this area after the catastrophe that struck Montenegro in 1979, said Jadranka Mihaljevic, head of the Institute for Seismology.
A new strong earthquake of 5.3 degrees Richter was recorded at 7.10 am, followed by 36 minor earthquakes.
At least six people were killed in the quake, while more than 300 were injured, Albanian media reported.
Albanian President Ilir Meta said the situation in the town of Thumane, closest to the epicenter, was dramatic. "All efforts are being made to take people out of the ruins," he said and called the cabinet to request international assistance.
The defense ministry said at least six people had died, including two women found in the rubble of an apartment building in the northern village of Thumane, and a man who died in the town of Kurbin after jumping out of a building. Three people lost their lives in the western port city of Durres, 20 miles from Tirana, including two whose bodies were taken out of a collapsed building.
Emergency workers told local media one of those killed in Durres was an older woman who managed to save her grandson by shielding him with her body.
The health minister, Ogerta Manastirliu, said 300 injured people as in Durres, Tirana, and Thumane, with more arriving in hospitals.
All government agencies are on alert and are "intensively working to save lives in the fatal spots in Durres and Thumane," Prime Minister Edi Rama said. "It is a dramatic moment where we should stay calm, stay side by side to cope with this shock," he wrote on his Facebook page.
The coast of Albania and Montenegro is known as a shaky area, even before the use of modern methods of recording and measuring earthquakes.
"In addition to those recorded by modern devices, there are historical data, even in the area of Durres, about powerful earthquakes. For example, in Durres, there is an arena that was demolished and subsequently excavated and testifies to the effects of earlier devastating countries," Mihaljevic said.
She said in the RTCG Morning Program that the earthquake was also strongly felt in Montenegro and that several minor ones preceded this earthquake in Albania.
"We can say that the September 21 earthquake of 5.8 Richter was a prelude to the activation of the seismogenic zone. The ground is still working. After such a strong earthquake, a large series of earthquakes can be expected. Usually, this calm lasts for several months," said Mihaljevic.
Source: Radio Tivat, RTCG, The Guardian