At least four thousand Albanian are unable to return to their damaged homes, according to the government, after a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Albania on November 26, leaving at least 49 dead and 900 injured.
Minister of Defense Olta Xhaçka informed that today experts have started to assess the damage done by the quake.
The ministry of health said that 63 of the 900 injured have been hospitalized, and one of them is in critical condition.
Stopping at intervals to listen for sounds of survivors, local and international rescue crews searched through the rubble of collapsed buildings Wednesday, as hopes of finding people alive waned a day after a deadly earthquake in Albania killed at least 30 and injured more than 650.
Those desperate for news included police officer Ajet Peci, who managed to emerge from the ruins of an apartment block that collapsed in the port city of Durres, killing his two adult daughters. His wife was still missing.
“How can I live?” Peci said, sobbing as he was consoled by neighbors, a bandage under his right eye and on a finger of his left hand. “I don’t know what I did to make it out. I wish I had stayed with them.”
Neighbors said only about four or five families were living in the five-story building at the time of the quake, as the owners of some of the apartments had emigrated.
Overnight, authorities said four more people had been confirmed dead, and five more deaths were reported later Wednesday. Those killed included at least three children, Defense Minister Olta Xhacka said.
Hundreds of aftershocks, some of them strong, followed the magnitude-6.4 quake that struck the country’s coastal cities before dawn on Tuesday. Crews briefly suspended rescue operations after an aftershock with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 struck Wednesday afternoon.
Three days after the quake, the search under the rubble of a crumpled hotel building in Durres is still under way, while it has halted in other affected areas in Durres and Thumane.
The number and extent of damaged residential buildings remain unknown.