From: Alice Taylor
Albania at above Average Risk from Seismic Activity

Scientists have created an earthquake risk model for Europe, mapping the regions that are most at risk of seismic activity, with Albania unsurprisingly amongst them.

Over the last 100 years, the deaths of more than 200,000 people and EUR 250 billion in expenses have been attributed to earthquakes across the European continent. As a result, European geologists and seismologists have created an earthquake risk model for the whole region.

While earthquakes are impossible to predict, the model refers to earthquake hazard which is a risk based on existing knowledge of tectonics, geology, past earthquakes, and conditions at the ground level.

According to the data quantified by the scientists from the Swiss Seismological Service and  Group of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH Zurich, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Romania are the most at risk.

The scientists hope that with the information, lawmakers will be able to use it to reinforce older buildings, construct earthquake-proof new builds, and build more resilient communities. Additionally, they hope it will “provide authoritative information to inform national local decisions related to developing seismic design codes and risk mitigation strategies.”

One of the main risk factors, the researchers state, is older buildings that may be weakened or not designed to withstand earthquakes. Other factors such as population density, building density, and local soil conditions also impact thee risk level.

Tirana was given an above average level of earthquake risk but less than some cities in Turkey, Italy, and Greece.

Albania has experienced several large earthquakes in recent years, the largest being on 26 November 2019. The epicentre struck between Tirana and Durres with a force of 6.4 on the Richter scale. It killed 51 people, left thousands homeless and caused over a billion euros worth of damage.

At the time, experts urged the government to take immediate action in assessing future earthquake risk, including evaluating older buildings, regulating building codes, and retrofitting them to withstand shaking.

Seismologists Say Large Aftershocks Unlikely, Government Should Retrofit Buildings for Safety