Medical facilities coping well in Albania following earthquake

WHO

At least 25 people have been killed and over 650 injured, according to official reports following a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Albania which happened shortly before 04:00 local time on 26 November 2019.

Hundreds of citizens are receiving medical assistance at hospitals in Tirana, Durres, Lezha, Kurbin and Kruja. All health facilities are reportedly in good shape. A state of emergency has been declared for Durres and Tirana.

“On behalf of WHO, I would like to extend my condolences to Albania, especially to those who may have lost loved ones, been injured or lost property,” says Dr Piroska Östlin, WHO Regional Director for Europe a.i. “We have been on the ground from the first moment of this disaster, working with health authorities to save lives.”

Staff from WHO have been deployed, and the WHO country team in Albania travelled to Durres to assess health needs with local and national health authorities.

“The Medical Emergencies Coordination Centre is doing tremendous work in responding to the consequences of the earthquake,” commented Dr Raul Gonzalez-Montero, WHO Representative in Albania. “I personally went to visit affected areas and health facilities where health personnel are working around the clock to treat trauma and other injuries, and they are coping well.”

In the aftermath of an earthquake, the priority is to save lives from trauma and injuries from building collapse. Following this phase, it is critical to monitor the potential risk of communicable diseases, particularly in areas affected by overcrowding. There is also a need to address post-traumatic mental disorders and continue the provision of care for chronic conditions. Eventually, recovery and rehabilitation will be in focus.

WHO is committed to assisting the country in identifying immediate needs and ensuring a swift response. The Organization stands ready to provide support to the people and Government of Albania during and after this emergency.