Rescuers race to find Albania quake survivors
DURRES, Albania (AP) — Stopping at intervals to listen for the sounds of survivors, local and international rescue crews searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings Wednesday, a day after a deadly earthquake in Albania killed at least 25 people.
Among those desperate for news was police officer Ajet Peci, whose two daughters were killed in an apartment block collapse in the port city of Durres. His wife is still missing.
“How can I live?” Peci said, sobbing as he was consoled by neighbors. “I don’t know what I did to make it out. I wish I had stayed with them.”
Overnight, authorities said four more people had been confirmed dead, raising the death toll to 25, while more than 600 people were injured in the magnitude-6.4 quake that struck the country’s coastal cities.
In Durres, Albania’s second largest city, on the Adriatic Sea, residents slept in tents and cars and at a soccer stadium as powerful aftershocks from the earthquake continued.
Others spent the night on open ground, huddling around fires to stay warm.
Flags were flying at half-staff on public buildings around the country Wednesday as Albania observed a national day of mourning.
Prime Minister Edi Rama thanked neighbor Greece and other countries offering support.
“We feel good to not be alone and I’m very grateful to all our friends,” Rama said late Tuesday, visiting Durres with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
Rescue teams and other disaster experts arrived from more than a dozen countries including France, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, and the United States.
In the nearby town of Thumane, Kristina Margjini also spent the night outdoors.
"The quake left us without shelter. Everything we have is destroyed: The apartment, windows, everything, and we cannot live there anymore," she said.
The quake in Albania Tuesday was followed by a smaller one in nearby southern Bosnia and another temblor Wednesday off the coast of the island of Crete in Greece.
Derek Gatopoulos and Elena Becatoros in Athens, Greece contributed to this report.
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