From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
International Aid Efforts Increase, Rama Says Rebuilding Won’t Impact Budget

Israel, Turkey and Switzerland are the latest nations to send more aid to help survivors of the 26 November earthquake that claimed the lives of 51 people.

The Israeli Defense Forces announced yesterday that they had dispatched an aid mission to the country that would provide emergency humanitarian aid. The team, consisting of 10 regular and reserve troops will be tasked with surveying buildings and ascertaining whether they remain structurally sound after the Magnitude 6.3 earthquake and some 1300 aftershocks.

Also yesterday, the Turkish government sent a second plane of relief supplies including blankets, portable beds, tents and heaters. The Turkish ambassador to Albania said that they will continue to provide daily food to children and elderly people that are displaced from the disaster. President Erdogan has also promised Turkey will build some 500 apartments for the Albanian people.

Switzerland has also announced that it will increase the aid sent to the country. A rapid response team already on site are pursuing three lines of action- assessing building stability, distributing aid, and providing financial assistance to people in affected areas. The team which was dispatched by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation included structural and civil engineers and they will be distributing some 100 winter tents, 400 beds, and 1200 blankets. Tarpaulins will also be given out and beds and blankets will be given to those staying in collective shelters.

According to a report on Relief Web, a project is being set up to provide financial support to people in need in one of the communities that were particularly badly hit. In particular, they will support those in rural areas who depend on the local area for their livelihoods and have no choice but to stay. 

The European Commission (EC) has said that it will donate EUR 15 million to the relief fund with immediate effect. The decision was announced by the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, who stated:

The first step in the meantime is to immediately allocate 15 million euros in support of the Albanian people. ”

Prime Minister Edi Rama told the New York Times that the government would not be buying any more new cars or furniture during 2020, and except for irrigation, no new projects would be accepted beyond those already planned. He said that the rebuilding process will help the economy grow.

Rama also stated that the draft 2020 budget would be revised to allocate funds for building homes, in a way that would not impact the country or other spending priorities.

“First, we shall not touch the main parameters of the budget because the challenge is not to rebuild for those made homeless by the quake to the detriment of other groups in the population and the economy,” The NY Times reported Rama as saying.