Twenty-one people have been confirmed dead in Albania as of 19:00, after a powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the country this morning at 03:54.
The earthquake, with an epicenter in the Adriatic Sea, 34 km north-west of the capital Tirana, sent major shocks throughout the country but hit harder the city of Durres and the town of Thumane, respectively, 35 km west and 38 km north of Tirana.
All the victims were recorded in these two centers. Twelve people died in Durres—two women and a man died when the 7-story Hotel Palma was totally flattened; three other women died in two apartment buildings that collapsed; one person was reported dead in the Hotel Mira Mare and another one in Hotel Tropikal; the body of a man was found under the rubble of a residential building; three members of a family died under the rubble when a three story-house collapsed in the northern outskirts of Durres, while four other people that were inside of the building are not yet found yet.
Eight bodies were recovered from the rubble of two residential buildings in Thumane, one of them a child, while a man died in the nearby Kurbin, after reportedly jumping from his apartment balcony amidst the ensuing panic.
43 people have been rescued from crumpled buildings, while rescue operations are ongoing in Durres and Thumane, as dozens of people are reported to be still trapped under the rubble.
Authorities have confirmed that more than 600 people were injured, dozens of whom have been hospitalized. Heavy damages have been reported throughout the country. Rescue teams and inhabitants are working to save people caught under ruins.