Today marks the one year anniversary of the International Donors' Conference “Together for Albania” organised in Brussels by the European Commission to support Albania following the devastating earthquake of 26 November 2019.
Out of the record pledge of € 1.15 billion, the European Commission, EU Member States and the European Investment Bank brought €400 million for Albania’s recovery, including €115 million in direct grants from the European Commission.
On the occasion of the anniversary, EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca stated: “From day one, the European Union has shown unparalleled solidarity with Albania and its citizens. We promised to help and we are now delivering by investing in the heavily affected sectors of education and culture. Nothing embodies resilience and confidence in the future better than schools. The new education facilities are being built with the involvement of local communities, following the highest European standards. Meanwhile, revitalising cultural heritage will benefit the local economy, diversify tourism and strengthen the connection between Albania and its European history. The response of the European Union and its Member States throughout the past year has shown once again that the EU is Albania’s first donor and most reliable partner on its way to EU accession.”
In May 2020, the EU launched the €75 million EU4Schools Programme, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 58 schools and kindergartens in all the 11 municipalities affected by the earthquake.
In January 2021, the repair works at the Vocational Education School “Hysen Çela” in Durrës municipality were completed. 1370 students and 51 teachers will now benefit from a state of the art new school. There are currently another 18 schools being repaired or fully reconstructed in the affected areas. By June 2021, six more facilities will be completed in the municipalities of Durrës, Kamëz, and Kurbin.
20,000 school and kindergarten children as well as more than 200,000 community members will benefit from the EU4Schools programme. The restored education facilities will not only be resistant to future earthquakes following the Build Back Better principles, they will also meet European standards concerning energy efficiency, green spaces, water and sanitation, sports facilities and internet coverage.
For more detailed information, please check the #EU4Schools Transparency Portal.
The €40 million EU4Culture programme started in September 2020. Implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the programme focuses on the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and valorisation of cultural sites damaged by the earthquake.
Technical teams have inspected 43 buildings and sites damaged by the earthquake and identified sites where the first interventions will take place from March 2021: the Ethnographic Museum in Kavaja, St. Mary Church in Rubik, and the Church of St. Ndoji in Cape of Rodon. From April 2021, works will start on a first package of nine sites needing significant structural interventions, beginning with the National Puppet Theatre and the National Museum of History.
The Member States of the European Union also made important pledges at the Donors’ Conference, for a total of €184 million. The bilateral support of the EU Member States has focused on the reconstruction of schools, private housing and other buildings affected by the earthquake, the establishment of civil protection in Albania, support to the affected sectors of the economy and strengthening of social inclusion.
For more information regarding the implementation of the EU and the EU Member States’ donation at the Donors Conference, please check: https://euprojects.al/earthquake-recovery/