From: Exit Staff
Opposition Demands Investigation into Measures Taken after September Earthquake

The Democratic Party has demanded that the government justify what it did after the 5.6-magnitude 21 September earthquake, to prevent the subsequent deaths of 24 citizens that died in Thumane after their apartment blocks collapsed on 26 November following the second earthquake.

In a Facebook post, General Secretary of the DP Gazment Bardhi posed five questions to the Prime Minister:

  1. Were the two apartment blocks in [Thumane] verified after the September earthquake?
  2. Who are the experts who were hired and what assessment did they make?
  3. Did the residents report on the findings of the experts?
  4. If the buildings were deemed hazardous, what measures were taken to accommodate the residents?
  5. Who allowed residents to enter the apartments that collapsed on 26 November?

Bardhi stressed that “the government has an obligation to clarify public opinion without delay, while the prosecution has the legal responsibility to investigate those responsible for the loss of lives of 24 citizens in two damaged apartment blocks in Thumane.

The DP Secretary added that “the government did not take any concrete action after the September earthquake to help citizens that then lost their lives on 26 November.”

Earlier last week, victims from Thumane have also called on prosecutors earlier to investigate the case. They claimed the local government officials had assured them after the September 2019 quake that the apartment blocks were safe.

Whilst the government has claimed they verified all buildings throughout the country after the September earthquake, detailed results and method of verification were never made public. Only Tirana Mayor ErionVeliaj stated that he had assigned municipal employees to inspect buildings, and they had finished their job in 5 days. Veliaj claimed this was a regional record in assessing earthquake damages. Independent international experts interviewed by Exit News said a proper verification in such a short time, done by non-experts, was impossible and dangerous.