In the early hours of Tuesday 26th November, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Albania, just 19 miles north of the capital Tirana. This was followed by a series of aftershocks up to three hours afterwards, measuring between 5.1 and 5.4 on the Richter scale.
The earthquake is the most powerful to hit the country in decades and has left a trail of destruction in its path. At the time of writing, six people have died and over 300 have been injured, as several buildings collapsed under the shock, burying residents.
“All efforts are being made to take the people out of the ruins,” said President Ilir Meta and he called on the cabinet to request international assistance immediately. Many neighbouring countries, the European Union and the United States have all offered their immediate support.
In a Facebook post, Mr Meta urged for Albanians to “keep calm at all costs” and stand in solidarity, ensuring the government will do everything it can to get through the devastating situation.
According to Mr Meta, government agencies are on high alert, intensively working to save lives at the fatal spots in Durres and Thumane with all emergency workers on call.
Several smaller tremors from the earthquake were felt across the Balkan region and as far as the southern Italian region of Puglia and the Serbian city Novi Sad. The region is located along the Adriatic and Ionian seas, which are prone to regular seismic activity. The last earthquake of this scale occurred in 1979, where a magnitude 6.9 earthquake left 136 dead and over one thousand injured.