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Rescue teams in desperate search for survivors as number of Albanian earthquake victims keeps rising

Multi-national effort:
Rescue workers from
Serbia lift blocks of
rubble in Thumane

RESCUERS have been sifting through the rubble of collapsed buildings in a race to find survivors a day after an earthquake killed at least 25 people.

More than 600 people were also injured in the magnitude-6.4 quake in Albania that struck coastal areas along the Adriatic Sea.

In Durres, Albania’s second-largest city, residents slept in tents, cars and at a football stadium as powerful aftershocks continued.

Camping out: People take shelter in a football stadium in Durres PICTURES: GETTY/EPA

Others spent the night on open ground, huddling around fires to stay warm.

Among those desperate for news was police officer Ajet Peci, whose two daughters were killed in an apartment block collapse in Durres. His wife is still missing.

‘How can I live?’ Mr Peci said. ‘I don’t know what I did to make it out. I wish I had stayed with them.’ In nearby Thumane, Kristina Margjini spent the night outdoors. ‘The quake left us without shelter. Everything we have is destroyed: the apartment, windows, everything, and we cannot live there anymore,’ she said.

Fatalities: A crowd of firefighters and police recover a body on a stretcher in Thumane, north-west of the capital Tirana

Flags were at half-mast on public buildings for a national day of mourning yesterday. Prime minister Edi Rama thanked Greece and other countries for their support.

‘We feel good to not be alone and I’m very grateful to all our friends,’ Mr Rama said, visiting Durres with Greek foreign minister Nikos Dendias.

Rescue teams and other disaster experts have arrived from more than a dozen countries. Tuesday’s Albania earthquake was followed by a smaller one in southern Bosnia and another yesterday off the coast of the Greek island of Crete.