'People were screaming and crying' - Albania quake survivors speak

TIRANA (Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed when a powerful earthquake hit Albania on Tuesday, destroying buildings and burying residents under rubble.

Emergency personnel work at the site of a collapsed building in Durres, after an earthquake shook Albania, November 26, 2019. REUTERS/Florion Goga

Here are quotes from survivors and residents trying to rescue the injured and retrieve the bodies of the dead:

Rozina Myrta’s house is 20 metres from a big building which collapsed in the earthquake. Her house did not suffer any damage.

“When the earthquake hit we all went out,” she said.

“It was smoke and fog and it smelled like dust. People were screaming and crying and more earthquakes came after that,” she said, as she watched workers removing rubble to help survivors.

Irakli Simoni lives in a village 20 km (12 miles) from Thumane. When he heard about the earthquake, he decided to come and help. He stepped away from the rubble of what used to be a four-storey building with blood on his hands.

“It is the blood of a man trapped under rubble whom we are trying to help. He has another dead body on top of him. I am talking to him, trying to keep him alive,” he said.

“We have to remove the rubble to help him out. His apartment was on the fourth floor.”

Klevis Cara lives in a neighbourhood where the quake caused two buildings to collapse. His own house was untouched.

“After the earthquake I heard the noise of a building collapsing and we took my child and came out of the house,” he said.

“I saw a dead woman (inside the building that collapsed). After 10 minutes another building next to it collapsed.”

“Today we will sleep outside,” he told Reuters.

Marjana Gjoka, 48, was sleeping in her apartment on the fourth floor of a five-storey building in Thumane when the quake shattered the top floors.

“The roof collapsed on our head and I don’t know how we escaped. God helped us,” said Gjoka, whose three-year-old niece was among four people in the apartment when the quake struck.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci, Benet Koleka, Editing by William Maclean