Albania demolishes quake-damaged building with explosives


The Albanian army uses a remote-controlled explosion to demolish a building in the western port city of Durres, Albania, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. A remote-controlled explosion has demolished the six-storied building considered threatening after being damaged from the 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Albania. A quake a week ago killed 51 persons, injured more than 3,000 people, and damaged more than 11,000 buildings. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

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TIRANA, Albania (AP) — A remote-controlled explosion has demolished a six-story building considered a threat after it was damaged in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Albania.

Tuesday’s demolition was done by the army in the western port city of Durres following the quake a week ago that killed 51 people and injured more than 3,000.

In Peza, a village near the capital, Tirana, authorities demolished a school and pledged to build a new one. Twenty-eight other schools in quake-hit areas need extensive rehabilitation while schools are closed there at least until Thursday.

The quake damaged more than 11,000 buildings and left 3,000 people homeless who are now sheltering in hotels, public buildings, tents and with relatives. Neighboring Kosovo has provided shelter to others.

The worst-hit areas were Durres, a popular beach vacation spot for Albanians 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of Tirana, and the nearby northern town of Thumane.

Five other buildings in both towns are expected to be demolished while scores of structural engineers from Albania and Europe check the quake-hit areas.

Albania has asked for international financial and expertise assistance to recover and reconstruct damaged building.

The European Union and the United Nations are coordinating international efforts, including those from the United States, to assist Albania after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Nov. 26, affecting more than half of the country’s 2.8 million population.

“I will use the NATO summit to speak with friends and colleagues, presidents and prime ministers of the NATO member countries, for you,” Prime Minister Edi Rama said in a video message in his Facebook page before leaving for the London summit.


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