Earthquakes of a magnitude 5.1 on the Richter have shaken Albania today.
The main earthquake's epicenter was in Gjiri i Lalëzit, about 18 km from Durrës and 30 km northwest of the country, but strong tremors were felt throughout the country and further abroad.
In panic, residents left their homes to flee outdoors. From 11.01, when the first shaking took place, until 11.40, the measurements in the seismology sector show that there were 40 other tremors, but at much lower intensities.
"The earthquake recorded today by our monitoring center at 11:01am was located in the Gjiri i Lalëzit area with a magnitude of 5.1 which," said Rexhep Koçi.
Tremors continued throughout the day before the next earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 was recorded at 13:24, accompanied with other smaller ones. The earthquake was at a depth of 10 km and is recorded as being about 30 km from Tirana.
Rexhep Koçi from the Seismology Department says no predictions can be made, but seismic activity is likely to continue.
"It has been about 6 years since the last earthquake of 4.2 occurred in the Durrës and Këneta area. Unfortunately as this earthquake caused communication lines to fall it has been particularly difficult.
"We have no information about damage in this area because we cannot connect with anyone," explained Rexhep Koçi earlier today.
The fact that telecommunication lines were inactive made the situation even worse.
The Ministry of Defense and the National Operational Center at the General Staff said there had been some material damage, though fortunately no injuries to persons have been recorded.
Housing damage has been recorded in the administrative units of Manëz, Yrshek, Kruja and more, though mainly the damage reported involves cracks rather than structural damage to the buildings.
In the center of Tirana, a group of emergency services inspected the buildings, and according to firefighter Shkëlqim Goxhaj, there are minor cracks that have appeared in the National Theater building.
"We did an inspection and we saw the real situation. We noticed that the earthquake has resulted in some consequences to the Theater building," said Shkëlqim Goxhaj.
Albania is not the only country to experience these seismic activities. Ora News journalist in Italy, Alba Kepi, reported the same earthquake intensity in the Puglia region.