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EU aid to the people hit by earthquakes and floods in Albania

Tirana, Albania, 28/09/2019 - 12:41, UNIQUE ID: 190928_1
Press releases

28 September 2019

Following the extensive damage caused by the two powerful earthquakes that struck Albania on 21 September 2019 and the heavy rains that hit the same area soon after, the Albanian authorities called for international assistance via the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Through the European Union’s coordination, first aid supplies and relief items, such as emergency tents, power generators and food aid kits are already being mobilised to the affected areas.

The European Union’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said: “The European Union is mobilising immediate relief aid in solidarity with the people hit by these natural disasters in Albania. I warmly thank all states for their offers of assistance through our Civil Protection Mechanism. We stand ready to provide further assistance as required by the Albanian authorities.”

Today, at a press point with the Albanian minister of Defence, the EU Ambassador to Albania, Luigi Soreca said: "I have to applaud the generosity and rapidity of the EU Member States response. Albania is not only close geographically to the EU, but close to our heart and concerns. What we see at work today is an example of how EU functions at its best, where solidarity and efficiency are combined to the benefit of the citizens not only in the EU Member States, but everywhere in the world."

The Defence Minister, Olta Xhaçka said: “I am very grateful to the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism for all the help and support. Although Albania its not yet a member, we are witnessing such a beautiful and significant show of solidarity. I want to thank every country that through this Mechanism has generously decided to support us in these difficult moments. Two months ago the Albanian Parliament adopted the Law on Civil Protection Civil Protection. The earthquake of 21 September was the first test of this mechanism that is still in its infancy and still requires a lot of work, coordination, institutional transformation and responsibility before it can truly become operational. But it was a test that nonetheless showed the tremendous potential of this mechanism built on models operating in the EU today.”

Eleven member/participating states in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism have come forward with offers of in-kind assistance. These are Austria, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Finland, France, Montenegro, Norway, Slovakia and Slovenia. An evaluation of needs is being currently underway to best channel the assistance offered to cover immediate needs and to help Albanian authorities with capacity-building for future contingencies. Furthermore, a team of experts from six member/participating states in the Mechanism arrived on 27 September 2019 in Tirana, Albania to help with the on-the-spot logistical coordination of the arrival of aid and to support the national authorities with further needs assessments.

The European Union's 24/7 Emergency Response Coordination Centre is in constant contact with the Albanian authorities to monitor developments on the ground and respond to any additional requests on EU assistance.  

Background:

Two earthquakes hit the county of Durrës in Albania on 21 September 2019, one with a magnitude of 5.6M and the second one of 5.1M. The earthquakes were followed by more than 100 aftershocks. The most affected areas are the seven prefectures/regions of Durrës, Tirana, Elbasan, Diber, Lezha, Fier and Berat. 

On 23 September 2019, Albania was battered by thunderstorms and heavy rain that caused flash floods in some of the areas affected by the earthquakes. 

Widespread damage to houses, buildings and infrastructure. Temporary evacuation centres have been set up for people who had to leave their homes for safety. 

In-kind assistance offered through the European Civil Protection Mechanism is mobilised according to the needs communicated by the Albanian authorities. It is mainly geared at providing emergency shelter and cover the immediate basic needs of the people who had to be evacuated from their homes and help with emergency capacity-building. 

 

Factsheet: The European Union’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre

 

Photos: Emergency Response Coordination Centre

 

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