A strong earthquake hit Albania Saturday afternoon, forcing residents into the street in several cities, causing power cuts in the capital and collapsing some buildings in a nearby village.

The epicentre of the quake, with a magnitude of 5.6 and a depth of 10 kilometres, was near Durres, less than 40 kilometres west of the capital Tirana, according to the US Geological Survey.

According to early media reports, at least two people were lightly injured and a dozen houses collapsed in the village of Helmes some 10 kilometres from Tirana.

Windows broke and fissures appeared on buildings in Durres, as well as in the capital, local media reported.

Electricity and telephone lines were cut off in Tirana and a number of other towns and villages, media reports said.