By COLlive reporter
Rescue crews with excavators are searching for survivors trapped in toppled apartment buildings and hotels following a powerful earthquake in Albania in the early hours of Tuesday.
The quake brought down buildings and left people trapped under rubble, it was reported. The death toll climbed to 21 and approximately 600 people were injured.
Hours after the first quake hit 21 miles north-west of the capital of Tirana, a separate earthquake struck the city of Mostar in Bosnia. There were no reports of casualties there.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said rescuers would “continue to search patiently and thoroughly to the end.” It is the strongest quake in 40 years to hit Albania which sits on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula.
Rabbi Yoel Kaplan, Chabad Shliach and Chief Rabbi of Albania, arrived at the scene and is assisting the rescue teams. “We still don’t know the magnitude of this tragedy and whether there are others who are stuck and need to be rescued,” he said.
Rabbi Kaplan added: “President Elir Mata called me early this morning to movingly ask that I pray for Albania and the peace of its citizens. I sent out a prayer that strengthens and encourages all citizens – Jews and gentiles alike.