At least eight people have died and 300 people were hurt after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake has hit Albania, collapsing buildings and leaving people trapped under rubble. The tremors were felt in Kosovo and other neighbouring countries.

The quake hit the coastal town of Durres, 34 km northwest of the capital, Tirana, early on Tuesday morning.

Albania’s president Ilir Meta said that the ‘situation is dramatic’ and promised that ‘all efforts are being done to take people out of the ruins.’ Prime Minister Edi Rama said this morning that all government agencies are ‘intensively working to save lives at the fatal spots in Durres and Thumane.’ ‘It is a dramatic moment where we should preserve calmness, stay alongside each other to cope with this shock,’ Rama wrote on his Facebook page.

Emergency workers told media one of those killed was an elderly woman who had managed to save her grandson by cradling him with her body. ‘Firefighters and army staff are helping residents (caught) under the rubble’, in Durres and nearby Thumane, a Defence Ministry spokeswoman told reporters. The Interior Ministry has also asked people to avoid driving in the affected areas to allow emergency services to operate freely. Media are reporting that among those feared dead in the earthquake is a Kosovo citizen who was staying in a hotel in Durres as the building collapsed. /KosovoPress/

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