At least nine people were killed when the most powerful earthquake to hit Albania in decades rocked the capital Tirana and surrounding region early on Tuesday, causing buildings to collapse and burying residents under rubble.
The quake was the second powerful tremor to hit the region in two months. An earthquake of 5.6 magnitude shook the country on September 21, damaging around 500 houses and destroying some. The Defence Ministry had said it was the most powerful quake in Albania in the last 30 years.
In the nearby northern town of Thumane, Marjana Gjoka, 48, was sleeping in her apartment on the fourth floor of a five-storey building when the quake shattered the two top floors.
"The roof collapsed on our head and I don't know how we escaped. God helped us," said Gjoka, whose three-year-old niece was among four people in the apartment when the quake struck.
An unidentified man, with a wound dressing on his right cheek, told News24 TV his daughter and niece were among those trapped in a collapsed apartment building in Durres.
"I talked with my daughter and niece on the phone. They said they are well and are waiting for the rescue. Could not talk to my wife. There are other families, but I could not talk to them," the man said.