Mayor of Durres Valbona Sako stated she was resigning today, after her comments last evening on the earthquake death toll in Durres sparked outrage last.
Sako wrote on Faceebok: “Hurt by the strong negative reactions to a statement I made under a stress that exceeds my strength, I resign from the duty of Mayor of Durres.”
In a TV interview the night before, Sako said “[…] it was a devastating earthquake but we are satisfied with 50 victims because in other cases it has been over 1,000.”
Her statement went viral on social media causing anger and sadness.
Valbona Sako replaced former Mayor Vangush Dako after the single party June 30 elections this year. Dako appeared in prosecution wiretaps in what appeared to be collusion with criminal gangs in the Albanian Electiongate, and the US has barred him from entering the country. Sako was certified as mayor by the Appeals Court of Durres, possibly in an unconstitutional way, after the ruling Socialist Party had allegedly arranged a positive decision with the court.
Earlier that day, Sako had also echoed Prime Minister Edi Rama’s comments, saying that “we take [victims] to hotels with the best of conditions. They are five-star hotels that the misters would not have been able to afford under normal circumstances.”
The prime minister also stated before that “it never occurred before that people affected by an earthquake are taken to five-star hotels.”
“This is not just an ideal solution, which no one thought of before. I thought of it and here we are now,” Rama said.
After Sako’s comment last night, people reacted with angry comments, criticizing the poor government management of the earthquake aftermath, total lack of preparation for emergency situations, as well as lack of empathy for victims.