Earthquake damage losses estimated at 1 billion dollars

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 5, 2019 20:14

Earthquake damage losses estimated at 1 billion dollars

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  • Meanwhile, in yesterday's meeting, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that 0.4 percent of gross domestic product will be allocated for the coming year, which is about 59 million euros.

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TIRANA, Dec. 5 - One week after the November 26 earthquake, the government still does not have an official bill of the caused damages, as there are over 10,000 damaged buildings, including some educational institutions, but the balance is expected to increase as the process of expert evaluation continues.

So far, preliminary reports by the US Geological survey estimate these losses to take up to 9 percent of the country’s GDP, or around one billion US dollars. 

"It's too soon to talk about the cost. The rebuilding program will be a stand-alone program. The cost will come after the final assessments made by specialized institutions,” Head of Reconstruction Committee Arben Ahmetaj meanwhile said. 

Meanwhile, in yesterday's meeting, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that 0.4 percent of gross domestic product will be allocated for the coming year, which is about 59 million euros.

On the other hand, with or without the approval of the affected families, the government already has a scenario for their housing. Until the end of the year, families left in open air will continue to stay in the accommodation structures where they currently are. 

Meanwhile, from January 1, they will be offered a monthly bonus, the value of which has not yet been determined, with which they will be able to afford rent.

Ahmetaj gave the first details on reconstruction plans during a conference on Wednesday.

“Part of the first step of rebuilding is the demolition of buildings which can pose a risk, not just cleaning up the rubble. The second phase begins on January 1, dealing with the housing bonus for citizens who cannot return to their homes due to damage to the extent that housing is uninhabitable. Whereas for the rural part, we will also provide ecological houses, which are temporary houses,” Ahmetaj said.

During the press release, Ahmetaj said the goal is to build 10,000 new apartments. 

“The project will initially extend to Durres, where 5,000 apartments will be built to continue to other areas, such as Tirana and Lezha,” Ahmetaj added. 

On its part, the opposition also came up with a three-part plan which, in addition to engaging 500 Albanian voluntary engineers and telling people whether their houses are habitable, foresees cancelling approximately 150 million dollars the government was to give through Private Public Partnership contracts and giving them for earthquake relief. 


PM asks for donors’ conference during NATO Summit 


Rama said on Wednesday he had found great interest among world leaders to successfully surpass earthquake damages as soon as possible. 

During the NATO Summit which took place in London, Rama said he had spoken to almost everyone, starting from US President Donald Trump to Turkish President Recep Tayyop Erdoğan, and that he had been given unanimous support. 

In a media statement, after his official speech during the summit and after leaving early to go to Rome, Rama said this was his main focus and objective and that the first reactions were positive. 

“Naturally for me this was the main objective of this entire Summit and in fact I felt encouraged by the fact that not only everyone was informed, but also interested in knowing more. In fact, I have spoken with European leaders, I’ve had long discussions with the French President, the German Chancellor, the Dutch PrimeMinister and a number of other leaders. The Danish PM was extremely interested, as well as PM Conte and the Canadian PM. We have spoken to Trump and to Erdogan as well,” Rama said.

He added that his purpose is to hold a donors' conference and that was what he asked for during the summit.

“First reactions have been positive, now let’s see how it will proceed. We are working intensively and will continue to do so in this direction,” Rama said. 


European Commission grants 15million euros for earthquake relief 


President of the EC Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday the EU supports the Albanian people both in the humanitarian sense, and through concrete acts. 

Der Leyen said she had spoken with Rama, who had given her more details on the earthquake.

“I just spoke to Prime Minister Edi Rama and informed him the European Commission will give 15million euros to immediately support the Albanian people. Furthermore, the EU will organize a donors’ conference to help Albania with reconstructions,” she said.

She added that Albanians should know the EU will always support them. 

“I have a lot of respect for the Albanian people who have remained calm despite the circumstances. I want them to know that the EU is on their side with compassion and action.”  Von der Leyen also announced that on Wednesday, Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic will be in Albania. 

"I have asked him to keep me informed of the situation," Von der Leyen wrote. 

"The EU is ready to provide further assistance,” Lenarcic wrote on Twitter afterwards, adding that he will visit Albania on Wednesday to get direct information on the most pressing needs in the affected areas. 

The EU Commission has helped mobilize search and rescue missions, consisting of more than 200 people from Italy, Greece and Romania. 

“We have dozens of beds, generators, sleeping bags, blankets and first aid equipment from Belgium,” she said earlier. 


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 5, 2019 20:14