The International Organisation for Migration has donated over 55,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to help handle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Albania.
The donation, worth some EUR 25,500 has been given to the Albanian Border and Migration Police according to a press release from the IOM in Albania. It was made possible thanks to the Norweigan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the project “Countering Smuggling of Migrants along the Western Balkan Coastal Route.”
Equipment donated includes gloves, masks, face shields, hand sanitizers, disinfection pumps and other equipment and will be used by police personnel at migrant reception fasciitis and border crossing points.
According to the Department for Border and Migration Police, the equipment will contribute to protecting front-line workers and ensuring they can keep providing services to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in a safe way.
“We are very grateful to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and IOM for this equipment, which will contribute to protect front-line workers and ensure we can continue to provide services to migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in a safe manner,” said the Director of Department for Border and Migration Police.
Since December 2018, the project “Countering Smuggling of Migrants along the Western Balkan Coastal Route” contributed to increased regional cooperation between Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro and enhanced the capacities of law enforcement authorities and the judiciary to apprehend, investigate and prosecute cases of smuggling of migrants, and protect migrants along the Western Balkan coastal route.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Albanian government was criticised heavily by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor for their management of the situation.
They noted an “alarming failure” to meet the minimum food and shelter needs of migrants and asylum seekers. The monitor found that those individuals in the country are suffering from “alarming state negligence, shortages of food, and violence.”
It was found that during the pandemic, reception centres were closed to newcomers leaving many stranded on the streets. Furthermore, the lack of sanitation and medical care was a cause for concern.