Hopes fade for any more survivors in Albania quake; 40 dead

DURRES, Albania (AP) — Hopes were fading Thursday of finding anyone else alive beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings in Albania, two days after a deadly quake struck the country's Adriatic coast. The death toll stands at 40 after more bodies were pulled from the ruins.

Authorities said search and rescue operations were continuing in three collapsed buildings in the port city of Durres, 33 kilometers (20 miles) west of the capital Tirana. Searching had stopped, however, in the nearby town of Thumane, where no more people are believed to be buried in collapsed apartment buildings after six bodies were recovered from the rubble overnight.

The Health Ministry said Thursday that more than 750 people were injured in the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck before dawn Tuesday and has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks, including several with magnitudes of above 5.0, which have complicated rescue efforts.

Another aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 rattled the area midday on Thursday, sending people fleeing into the streets in panic. At least one building suffered further damage from the aftershock, while mourners rushed from a building where they had gathered for the start of funeral ceremonies for some of the victims.

Rescue crews with specialized equipment, sniffer dogs and emergency supplies have flooded into the country from neighboring countries and other European nations to help in the search efforts and provide for those left homeless.

Many of those left without homes in Thumane spent a second night in tents, unwilling to head to hotels along the coast made available for their accommodation while the search operation continued. A total of about 2,100 people had spent Tuesday night in tents, and the government has vowed to provide new homes during 2020 for all those left homeless.

Authorities have warned residents not to return to any buildings that could have been damaged until engineers can check the structures for safety.

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