Western Balkans

The EU helps Albanian authorities assess damaged buildings following the earthquake and announces donor’s conference

Tirana, Albania, 14/12/2019 - 11:16, UNIQUE ID: 191214_1
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Albanian and international engineers, with support from the EU Civil Protection Team, have assessed 1,850 buildings that were identified as critical by the Albanian authorities in 10 affected municipalities.

The assessment focused on establishing the structural integrity of the buildings and understanding the scale of damage, in order to plan for the recovery phase. While the Albanian engineers are leading these assessments, the international experts continue to share their knowledge and assist where needed until their mission ends.

Visiting the teams on the ground, EU Ambassador to Albania Luigi Soreca said: "International and Albanian engineers are working closely together in the affected areas. There is an impressive commitment by all engineers on the ground to assess the damages caused by the earthquake. The international engineers are also intensively training their Albanian colleagues, transferring them their technical expertise in view of the phasing out of the international presence.”

The EU leaders discussed the situation in Albania: "The European Union stands in solidarity with Albania in light of the recent earthquake. The European Council welcomes the Commission’s announcement to provide humanitarian assistance and to organise a donors’ conference."

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: It was very good that we agreed to have a donors’ conference for Albania in Tirana before the end of January. It was very encouraging to see immediately the support of all Member States to be on the side of the people in Albania, mainly also to prepare reconstruction in the region that will be necessary. There will be a long period of reconstruction that will be necessary.”

Background information: 

Following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Albania on November 26, the European Union and its Member States immediately sent search and rescue teams as well as material assistance. 

After the search and rescue phase, the EU helped mobilise structural engineers from Italy, Greece, Croatia, Cyprus and France to assess the damage. The damage assessment is conducted by Albanian engineers together with 75 foreign structural engineers, who are working closely in joint teams. The EU Civil Protection Team will remain available to offer support to Albanian engineers until their scheduled departure on 20 December 2019.

EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, held his first field visit as Europe’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Albania on 5 December, a day after the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the EU will support the Albanian people with €15 million following the devastating earthquake.

The EU has also allocated €300,000 in immediate emergency funding to provide vulnerable people with shelter, food and psychosocial support.

Following a request from the Albanian authorities, a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) is under preparation by the EU, World Bank and United Nations.

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