Hundreds of Albanians remained fearful of returning home Sunday as more than 340 aftershocks rattled the area near the capital of Tirana the day after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.
The quake, which struck shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday, injured 105 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. The U.S. Geological Survey and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said the quake had a magnitude of 5.6.
About 600 houses, most built before 1990, suffered damage in the quake, The Associated Press reported.
The temblor also temporarily knocked out power and water facilities in Tirana, Durres and some western and central districts on Albania’s western Adriatic Sea coast.
At least 500 people spent the night in temporary shelters after the quake.
Experts on Sunday inspected damaged homes and buildings and raised more emergency tents. Defense Minister Olta Xhacka, speaking at a Cabinet meeting, said “luckily oil wells were not damaged.”
Army troops set up tents at a soccer stadium in Durres where many residents planned to spend a second night away from their homes and apartments.
In addition to a medical team, authorities sent mental health counsellors. Education Minister Besa Shahini said all schools would be closed Monday in Tirana, Durres and Elbasan, AP reported. She said 98 schools had damage but only two were declared unsafe.
“People are not ready emotionally (to send children to school),” Shahini said.
The shaking Saturday sent residents running out of their homes and apartments.
“All our neighbors came out screaming. Thank God it did not last long – about 20 seconds. It was a nightmare on the 10th floor. I don’t remember a more powerful one than this,” one Tirana resident told Reuters.
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Prime Minister Edi Rama canceled a trip to the United Nations annual meeting and returned to Albania to evaluate damage from the earthquake, the AP reported.
Located along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania is in an earthquake-prone area and registers seismic activity every few days.