At least 23 people have been killed after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Albania, with Greece immediately sending two Special Disaster Unit (EMAK) rescue teams, namely twenty-five members of the 1st EMAK with a sniffer dog that departed from Athens with a C130 military aircraft and another 15 members of the 5th EMAK that departed from Ioannina, northern Greece with vehicles and special equipment.
The quake brought down buildings and left people trapped under rubble. One man died after jumping from a window in panic after the tremor struck.
The quake hit 34km (21 miles) north-west of the capital, Tirana, in the early hours of Tuesday.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said rescuers would “continue to search patiently and thoroughly to the end”.
“We have victims. We are working to do everything possible in the affected areas,” he wrote on Twitter.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias arrived at Durres, Albania, on Tuesday evening, to show Greece’s support in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake.
Together with Albanian Prime Minister Rama, Dendias observed the rescue teams’ struggle to remove people from under the rubble of a collapsed building, then both men visited injured survivors at Durres stadium, which has been turned into a temporary medical facility.
According to diplomatic sources, the Albanian PM expressed his gratitude for Greece’s support.
“I am here at Durres, endorsed by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with two EMAK teams to help our friends the Albanian people as much as we can,” Dendias told reporters at Durres, in Rama’s presence. “We too have been through this,” he added, “and we are standing by Albanian people and its government, to offer every help we can.”