From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Hundreds Still In Summer Tents And Claim No Government Assistance One Month After Earthquake

Despite government claims that all summer tents will be replaced by the New Year, hundreds of families are still living in unacceptable conditions. Over one month after the earthquake struck, Exit revisited rural areas impacted by the quake, to asess what has been provided to citizens by NGOs and the state.

Visiting families that were interviewed in mid-December, Exit found that one family in Fush Mamura had been provided with a container to live in, not by the government but by an Italian NGO. The 23-year-old mother of five explained how they had still not received any further assistance from the government other than one tent that coincidentally appeared whilst Exit was interviewing them two weeks ago.

No offers of aid, blankets, or assistance in rebuilding their home had been offered to date. They had also not been given the option of being relocated to a hotel or alternative accommodation.

Another family nearby, who wished to remain anonymous explained how they had been given another tent by an NGO but that it lets in the rain and cold. They have still not received any government assistance.

Lindita told Exit that after the article was published which featured her predicament, the Municipality arrived with a summer tent and told them to “stop causing problems and publicity, referring to interviews she gave to the media.

Bystanders that approached Exit claimed that the Municipality was only providing assistance to those who had voted in the 30 June elections.  Exit was unable to verify these claims but has received multiple reports from people living in Mamuras and Fush Mamuras of a similar nature, as well as claims that they had been refused assistance because they were registered with opposition parties.

Locals estimate that more than 300 families in the surrounding areas are living in summer tents.

Deputy Interior Minister Rovena Voda claimed yesterday that any claims that the government had not visited some areas were just “propaganda”. She added “it’s not true that no one came and we were not interested. We want by the New Year to find all people in winter tents.”

Voda also sai that “the Bubz area, which was almost completely with tents- we made a full replacement in Bubz of summer tents with winter ones.”

Exit received reports on the ground in Thumane and Bubq today who confirmed that there are many summer tents still there and that the government have not delivered aid or any replacement tents. They added that whilst they were in Thumane, the only government presence was the State Police who were filming a video of them giving “gifts” to people.

Exit also checked with contacts in the small village of Vlashaj near Vore where around 25 families have been made homeless. They confirmed that no tents- either summer or winter- nor any aid, supplies or assistance have been given to any of the residents at any time in the last month.

State engineers have inspected damaged properties on two occasions, but no further information or help has been provided at any time.