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Search ends for survivors of Albanian quake as death toll reaches 51

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Search ends for survivors of Albanian quake as death toll reaches 51

Albania ended its search on Saturday for survivors of a powerful earthquake that killed 51 people and buried more victims of the disaster, including small twins and their mother.

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake, the worst earthquake ever in the country, occurred on Tuesday, centered 30 km west of the capital Tirana. It was felt in the Balkans and the southern Italian region of Apulia, across the Adriatic Sea in Albania.

There were hundreds of aftershocks, some more than 5.0 magnitude, shaking already damaged buildings and terrifying residents.

Rescuers on Saturday halted efforts to find survivors in the rubble. At the Mira Mare hotel, across the Adriatic Sea in the city of Durres, a mechanized excavator stopped near the ruins of concrete slabs, water boilers, mattresses and curtains of the six-story building.

"No other bodies were found in Mira Mare," said a government spokesman.

The 51st victim was a 20-year-old woman who died on Saturday. She was hit in the head by falling bricks in a western district of Tirana, making her the only victim in the capital.

Most of the others were in Durres, Albania's second largest city and main port and the neighboring city of Thumane.

Located along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas between Greece and Montenegro, Albania is prone to seismic activity. This earthquake was the deadliest in Albania; The previous highest figure was in 1979, when an earthquake killed 40 people.

Badly equipped Albanian troops rescued survivors from the rubble of buildings, sometimes digging them up with their own hands, up to 250 troops from European countries and the United States to help.

Durres officials scattered around the city to distribute food, but some residents complained that they had not received supplies.

In one case, a car trying to distribute food was surrounded by a large crowd and drove away. "The poor get nothing," said a 65-year-old white-haired lady in despair.

She and others, who did not want to share their names, said they could not return home for security reasons and had to rely on donated food supplies.

Aware of the difficulties, the government said it has set up national operational centers and a telephone line for people who need food and clothing to ask for help.

In a wave of solidarity, Albanians donate food and clothing in city centers. GoFundMe crowdfunding platform said that on Friday, $ 3.2 million had been raised worldwide to help disaster survivors.

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