Kosovan president caught up in aftershock when visiting Albanian earthquake victims

Kosovan president caught up in aftershock when visiting Albanian earthquake victims
Copyright ReutersMortimer, Caroline
By Caroline MortimerReuters
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Hashim Thaci was on a visit to the town of Thumanë to express his sympathy and support to the victims of Tuesday's earthquake


The Kosovan president was caught up in an aftershock while visiting the victims of the Albanian earthquake on Wednesday.

Hashim Thaci was addressing the media in the town of Thumanë when the ground began to shake on Wednesday afternoon.

At least 26 people have died and more than 650 people have been injured after the 6.4 magnitude struck the towns of Thumanë and Durres in Albania in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

None of the Kosovan presidential party were harmed during the aftershock.

Before the aftershock, Thaci said: “I am here to give support of people of Kosovo, my support and condolences to the people and institutions of Albania, to the victims”.

Kosovo is one of several neighbouring countries who have sent emergency teams to help victims and sort through the rubble since the quake.

As time passes hopes are beginning to fade about pulling people alive from the rubble.

Read more: 'A picture I will never forget': Euronews Albania chief on Earthquake chaos

One of those waiting for news, is Fehmi Vata whose seven-year-old grandson is still trapped under the rubble.

The 73-year-old was saved from the earthquake as he was working as an overnight security guard to earn extra income.

Fehmi's 10-year-old grandson was among those pulled from the rubble alive, but his wife was not lucky.

She died while cradling her grandson in her arms in an unsuccessful effort to protect him.

His daughter-in-law survived but was badly injured and evacuated to hospital. His son is currently working in Greece.

Speaking to reporters by the rubble of his first-floor flat in a collapsed five-storey apartment building in Thumanë, he said: “I am sad because I cannot do anything for my grandchild, I can only pray for him.

“Why did God not take my soul instead?”

He said he had spoken to his wife by phone after an initial tremor early on Tuesday morning but that their apartment building caved in when the quake struck.

“My wife was the pillar of the home. She worked all day in agriculture...I may have been lucky to survive because I was a security guard, but what do I need my life for after what has happened to me?”

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