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Mounting casualties Swiss rescue team sent to Albanian earthquake disaster

Rescue workers in Albania

Several nations have sent rescue teams to Albania following a devastating earthquake.

(Keystone / Malton Dibra)

Switzerland has sent 15 specialist rescue personnel to help Albania deal with the aftermath of a large earthquake. Some 26 people have so far been confirmed killed and around 650 injured by the quake that struck in the early hours of Tuesday near the Albanian port city of Durres.

“The approximately 15 specialists of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) will support the Albanian emergency forces in the search for and rescue of buried victims, checking the structural statics of the buildings affected and clarifying humanitarian needs,” read a Swiss statementexternal link.

“The team will also prepare further aid support and initiate concrete emergency measures,” it added.

The team from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperationexternal link (SDC) unit was dispatched following a request for assistance from the Albanian government.

The Swiss contingent will join rescue teams from Italy, Greece, Romania, Kosovo and Montenegro.

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake, whose epicenter was just 30 kilometres west of the capital Tirana, is the largest to have hit Albania in decades. This affected region had already been affected by several smaller earthquakes in September.

Hundreds of survivors had to spend the night in tents or sleeping in cars as the earthquake demolished houses and made parts of the towns of Durres and Thumane unstable.

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