From: Alice Taylor
One Year on From September 2019 Earthquake: This is What the Government Says

One year ago today, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 hit Albania. It caused widespread damage and some 65 families were made homeless. 

Prime Minister Edi Rama published a video to mark the one year anniversary of the quake, noting that every family in Tirana that was affected by it were now in new apartments. He said that the government keeps its promises by saying what it does, and doing what it says.

Just two months later, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Durres which killed 51 people and left thousands homeless. Those that had damaged homes after the September earthquake, found themselves in an even more precarious position.

To date, many of those left homeless from the November quake are still living in tents or even in unsafe properties. None of the damaged schools have been rebuilt and apartments are not finished.

Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj said in an interview with News24 that 90% of citizens affected by the earthquake have received compensation and have “regular files”. He said that by the end of 2020, individual houses and payments for reconstruction will be completed.

Those waiting for apartments to be constructed will have to wait another year, according to the mayor.

He then claimed:

“I grew up in the US, the state comes to bring a bottle of water and a sandwich and then says go to the insurance company to make your house.”

He also said there were issues relating to who owns properties and “family conflicts” in court.

Minister for Reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj spoke to the media today from Lac where he said 524 apartments are under construction. He said they will be built quickly to European standards and half of them will be ready in March with the others three to four months later.

Meanwhile every day in the media, residents are claiming that they are still living in tents and have not received any government assistance.

Albania received over EUR 1 billion in donations, grants, and loans to help with the reconstruction process.