From: Exit Staff
Albanian Opposition Accuses PM Rama for Deaths of 24 People in Two Collapsed Buildings

The Albanian opposition has accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of “direct responsibility” for the deaths of 24 people caught under the rubble after two apartment blocks collapsed in Thumane in the November 26 earthquake.

Democratic Party (PD) general secretary Gazmend Bardhi made the harsh accusation after PM Rama slammed the opposition for their alleged poor reaction and refusal to seat in talks with the government after the earthquake.

“Edi Rama is directly responsible for the deaths of 24 citizens in the apartment blocks in Thumane which were declared uninhabitable after the September 21 earthquake,” Bardhi wrote on Facebook.

On September 21, Albania was hit by a strong, 5.6-magnitude earthquake. The PD has demanded public explanation earlier on what measures the government took after that earthquake.

Whilst the government has claimed they verified all buildings in areas hit by the September earthquake, detailed results and method of verification were never made public. Inhabitants of the two collapsed apartment blocks in Thumane claim officials told them their buildings were safe. The government has not made public the official results of the two buildings’ inspections in September.

In Tirana, Mayor Erion Veliaj proudly claimed he had broken an alleged “regional record” by assessing all damages of the September earthquake in only 5 days. His claim was refuted by independent international experts.

The opposition has warned again that the government is not carrying out proper inspections after the November 26 earthquake either.

Bardhi also stated that the government had failed in its response to the November earthquake, while it has defended the “corrupt concession contracts with oligarchs” worth €150 million, which could have been used for reconstruction.

“Edi Rama’s biggest failure is that he failed to transform the Democratic Party and the opposition into a façade of his corrupt and criminalized power. He is tied to [former Durres mayor] Vangjush Dako and [Minister for Reconstruction] Arben Ahmetaj, while we are tied to the Albanian citizens.”