Torrential rain, floods paralyze Albania; 1 person dead

At least one person has died during heavy rainfall that flooded many parts of Albania, paralyzing its ports and causing flights from its only international airport to be suspended, authorities said Friday.

Three other people were injured and 18 houses were destroyed in weather-related incidents over the past 24 hours, the government said in a statement.

Many roads remained blocked across the Balkan country, while some 71,000 residents were affected by power cuts.

Police reported Friday morning that the western highway leading into the capital Tirana was partly cleared but other roads remained flooded. They said a shopping mall close to the capital where some 100 persons had been trapped was also evacuated.

Authorities sent troops, police and emergency responders to the southern districts of Gjirokastra, Fier and Vlora where several rivers were at risk of overflowing.

The army reported that it committed some 500 troops overnight to evacuate hundreds of residents in flood-hit areas.

Schools are staying shut nationwide Friday.

The government urged citizens to heed official advice saying that the "situation is expected to get aggravated later today, especially in the country's south."


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