Albanian earthquake death toll rises to 26 as relief floods in

The UAE has pledged Dh13 million humanitarian assistance via the Emirates Red Crescent

Italian search and rescue workers look for survivors stuck under the rubble of a collapsed building in the town of Durres, western Albania on November 27, 2019, after an earthquake hit Albania. Albania was in national mourning on November 27 as emergency workers continued to pull bodies from the ruins of buildings gutted by a violent earthquake, with nearly 30 dead found so far and more than 40 rescued alive. Tirana declared a state of emergency in the areas hardest-hit by the November 26 pre-dawn earthquake: the coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane, where victims were trapped by toppled buildings. / AFP / Armend NIMANI
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Rescue workers in Albania are searching for survivors in collapsed buildings after a devastating earthquake left 26 people dead and more than 650 injured.

In Durres, Albania’s second largest city, on the Adriatic Sea, residents slept in tents and cars and at a soccer stadium as powerful aftershocks from the 6.4 magnitude earthquake continued.

Flags are flying at half-staff on public buildings around the country as Albania observes a national day of mourning.

Soldiers, police and emergency workers looked through the debris of destroyed houses, hotels and apartment block near the country's north-west Adriatic coast, close to the earthquake's epicentre.

Most of the deaths occurred in the coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane.

The tremor, the second in two months to hit the country, struck 10 kilometres northwest of Shijak, Albania, between the port of Durres and the capital Tirana, at a shallow depth of 10km, the US Geological Survey said.

Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, told an audience in Rome that he was praying for the victims and their families.

Amid fears of more tremors in the region, media in some countries have carried emergency advice for citizens in case of an earthquake.

School classes were cancelled in southern parts of Bosnia after a tremor on Tuesday struck the region hours after Albania had been hit.

No one was injured but the 5.4 magnitude earthquake damaged dozens of buildings and parts of some schools.

The UAE is to give Dh13 million of emergency relief to Albania via its humanitarian wing, the Emirates Red Crescent.

The initial focus will be on basis necessities that will benefit 555,000 people such as food, medicine and shelter.

ERC aid workers are expected to travel to the Albanian capital Tirana on Sunday to manage the assistance and assess conditions at the worst hit areas.

''The UAE's presence at the heart of this crisis and its humanitarian assistance and initiatives in Europe underscore that the UAE has become an active and effective factor in the international response to humanitarian catastrophes and crises,” Dr. Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, ERC Secretary-General.

The air was ordered by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ad will be overseen by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Chairman of the ERC and the Ruler’s representative in the Al Dhafra Region.