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Albanians Hold Funerals For Victims Of Devastating Quake


Funerals Take Place For Albanian Quake Victims
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THUMANE, Albania -- Albanian families buried their loved ones on November 29 as the Balkan country mourned the 49 people who have been confirmed killed so far by this week's earthquake.

In the northern town of Thumane, 11 victims of the earthquake that struck from the early hours of November 26 were buried -- including six members of the Cara family.

The 6.4-magnitude quake -- the most deadly in decades -- razed buildings to the ground in Thumane and the port city of Durres, leaving thousands of people homeless who are being housed in tents, hotels, schools, gyms, and other temporary accommodation.

Fran Dodaj, a Thumane resident, told RFE/RL that her 12-year-old son was "so shocked" that he didn't want to go back to the family home.

"I've left him with some relatives. I don't want to be here either. This house will soon collapse and we have nothing. Every day and even today, there are aftershocks. What can we do?" he said.

The funerals in Thumane were attended by political leaders from Albania, including Prime Minister Edi Rama, but also from neighboring Kosovo.

The quake killed 25 people in Durres, 23 in Thumane, and one in the town of Lac, according to Rama.

It injured hundreds of other people.

Most of those left homeless are residents of the capital, Tirana, where nearly 70 buildings and 250 homes were damaged.

More than 40 people have been rescued by relief teams who worked around the clock with foreign experts.

Clear-Up Continues In Albanian Quake Village
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Rescue efforts were halted in Thumane on November 28 after no more people were missing, but the clear-up continues with unsafe houses being demolished.

Search efforts continue in Durres, where the quake left more than 700 houses damaged, 12 more destroyed, and nearly 200 apartment buildings with cracks and fissures, Rama said.

Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe.

But Rama has promised to build new homes for the victims by 2020 and said nearly $7 million had already been received in donations.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Olta Xhacka said experts were preparing to assess the risks of the buildings affected by the quake.

"The situation of buildings with damaged structures is as dangerous as on the first day, so don't stay there, leave them," Xhacka said.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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