AP NEWS

Post-quake fake news drives Albanians outdoors

September 23, 2019
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A woman cleans up debris from a damaged house after an earthquake in Zhurje village, north of Tirana Many residents in Albania's capital of Tirana and the port city of Durres have not gone back to their homes after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake injured 105 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
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A woman cleans up debris from a damaged house after an earthquake in Zhurje village, north of Tirana Many residents in Albania's capital of Tirana and the port city of Durres have not gone back to their homes after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake injured 105 people and damaged hundreds of buildings. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albanian police say they have questioned two journalists on suspicion that they provoked panic by reporting that a large earthquake was likely, after an earlier quake injured 105 people and damaged hundreds of buildings.

People in the capital, Tirana, ran outdoors Sunday evening, fearing the online reports of a possible magnitude-6 quake before midnight. Many parked their cars along the highway and bedded down in them; others went to a soccer stadium with small suitcases or sat outside cafes for a late-night coffee.

Authorities rushed to call for calm, saying the reports were fake.

Saturday afternoon’s earthquake, measuring 5.8 according to Albania’s Institute of Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment and 5.6 according to the U.S. Geological Survey and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center, damaged some 915 buildings.

Elementary and high schools are closed Monday.