Mourners carry a coffin during the funeral of eight members of the Lala family in Durres, Albania, Saturday. Reuters
The death toll from a powerful Albanian earthquake rose to 50 as the search for survivors was called off, Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Saturday.
The 6.4 magnitude quake that hit the Balkan country before dawn on Tuesday was the most deadly and destructive in decades, and left about 5,000 people homeless.
Rescuers search at a collapsed building in Durres, Albania. AP
"The number of the earthquake victims reached 50 and rescue operations have ended," Rama told a cabinet meeting while struggling to hold back tears.
Entire families were crushed in their homes while they were sleeping, forcing relatives and neighbours to watch in agony as rescue teams pulled bodies from the ruins this week.
About 900 people were injured, of whom 41 are still hospitalised, according to the defence ministry.
The damage was the worst near the Adriatic coast in the port city of Durres and the town of Thumane, where scores of people were trapped beneath the wreckage of apartment buildings and hotels.
Rescuers from France and Switzerland operate at a collapsed building in Durres, Albania. AP
The funeral of eight members of the Lala family, including four children, killed in Durres was to be held later on Saturday.
Only one member of the family, Rame Lala, 19, survived when his four-storey home collapsed.
He sustained serious injures and was evacuated to Italy with two other victims for specialised care.
Nearly 2,500 people from the worst-hit areas have been moved into hotels or other buildings.
Another 3,480 people in the capital Tirana, where there were no casualties, fled to shelters, with some now housed in reception centres and others staying in the homes of relatives, Rama said.
Rescuers search at a collapsed building after the 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Durres, Albania. Visar Kryeziu/AP
The prime minister on Saturday expressed "deep gratitude" to rescue teams from Albania and around Europe who had pulled some 50 people from the ruins.
Rama met a French team in Durres on Friday, commenting that "two weeks ago, football world champions were in Albania", in reference to a Euro 2020 qualifying match against France.
Now it was "world champions in rescuing the lives of others" who had showed up, he said on Twitter.
Rana also attended the burials of nine people from two families who had died in Thumane.
Towns in one of Europe's poorest countries, which has a population of 2.8 million people, developed chaotically after the fall of communism in the 1990s.
Experts say a lot of construction took place without respect for building codes and with cheaper materials.
With the help of dogs and more than 200 experts flown in from across Europe, rescuers worked through the night to locate survivors. By Wednesday morning, the death toll was up to 28 while 45 people had been rescued, the defence ministry said in a statement.
A 28-year-old woman who was injured when a rock fell on her house in the town of Stolac, near Mostar, died in hospital, a medical source quoted by media said. Several others were lightly injured, including members of the victim's family.
Five other people were seriously injured as eight houses collapsed, said Bhola Bhatta, Doti's deputy superintendent of police, confirming an earlier figure shared by home ministry official Tulsi Rijal.
Firefighters said the bus caught fire after careering off a bridge linking the Mestre and Marghera districts of the northern Italian city.
We have given them a deadline to willingly return to their countries and if they don’t, all law enforcement agencies of the state and provinces will deport them, says interior minister
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