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The Latest: Pope prays for Albania’s earthquake victims

November 27, 2019 GMT
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Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

DURRES, Albania (AP) — The Latest on a deadly earthquake in Albania (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Pope Francis says he is praying for the victims, the wounded and their families in Albania following Tuesday’s earthquake.

Francis said that Albania was the first country in Europe that he wanted to visit as pontiff, and he feels very close to the Albanian people.

The magnitude-6.4 quake that struck early Tuesday killed at least 25 people and injured more than 600.

The Pope made his comments to thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly audience.

Francis returned Tuesday night from an eight-day journey to Asia. He thanked the people of Thailand and Japan and said his journey brought him closer to those populations.

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10:50 a.m.

Turkey’s president has called for a donors’ conference of Muslim countries to help Albania surmount the destruction caused by a deadly earthquake.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the call on Wednesday during an opening address at an annual meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation to discuss economic issues.

Erdogan said: “I call on the entire Islamic world to support Albania.”

The magnitude-6.4 quake that struck early Tuesday killed at least 25 people and injured more than 600.

He said: “We must all stand together with Albania concerning the treatment of the injured or sheltering those whose homes collapsed or were damaged.”

The Turkish leader added that Turkey has dispatched military cargo planes, emergency assistance teams and aid convoys to Albania.

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8:15 a.m.

The death toll from a powerful earthquake in Albania has risen to 25 overnight as local and international rescue crews continue to search collapsed buildings for survivors.

Authorities said four more people had been confirmed dead early Wednesday, while more than 600 people were injured in the magnitude 6.4 quake that struck the country’s coastal cities.

In Durres, Albania’s second largest city, on the Adriatic Sea, residents slept in tents and cars and at a soccer stadium as powerful aftershocks from the earthquake continued.

Flags are flying at half-staff on public buildings around the country as Albania observes a national day of mourning.