From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
PM Rama Promises Residents Who Lost Homes in Earthquake Will Be Housed by June

Prime Minister Edi Rama has promised that all residents who lost their private homes due to the 26 November earthquake, will be in new government-provided homes by June 2020. 

After meeting with the Council of Ministers in Golem, Mr Rama said the government had a plan to rebuild:

“We have a solid plan to start the process. The objective is to have everything started in the spring and within the first 6 months a large proportion of those living in individual dwellings today will have moved into a new home. Those in the apartments will continue with the rental system until new housing is completed. ”

Asked if there is any criticism of the way the government and ministries have coped with the post-earthquake situation so far, the PM said the only thing to fix is how the work the government is doing is communicated: 

“One of the things we will improve is communication and information regarding this work. We can blame ourselves for not finding the right ways to convey many things that are being done. ”

As for the government projects for 2020, Rama said that the government will not give up just because of reconstruction of other projects such as Vlora airport, Thumana-Rrogozhina road or the approval and implementation of laws as ‘anti-KCK‘:

“At the beginning of January after the New Year, we will pass an act against organized crime and the KCK and continue our work with the University pact. In the spring we will be on-site for the University Campus. We have started the procedure for Vlora airport. The procedure for the park in Divjaka will soon be announced, the new Thumana-Rrogozhina road being built from scratch. 

The procedure will also be announced soon for the Llogara tunnel. Then there are other works like Shengjin-Velipoja. The legalization process. We will soon pass the new land law in parliament. We have another important priority: a number of online services will be operating in January. Citizens will apply online. In June, it will be the second wave and in 2020 we will close all projects. Finally, regional Schengen, another important priority. ”

The Anti KCK package will give the government the power to stop, search, arrest, detain, surveil including tapping social media and telephones, and restrict movement without a court order.

As for the mini-Schengen project, it has caused a division with Kosovo, been condemned as  distracting from the EU accession process, and Rama’s friendliness with Serbian President Vucic has resulted in calls for them both to be declared personae non grata.

Yesterday, Democratic leader Lulzim Basha denounced the government’s neglect of earthquake-affected families in rural villages. He commented that many residents are still sleeping outside in tents or cars and are awaiting decisions on their property.

“They don’t know what will happen to them, with their homes and the toil and sweat of a lifetime,” he added.

He called out “government propaganda” and said that the government are abusing their power and failing to offer assistance to many families that are suffering in deteriorating conditions.

“If this prime minister and his government were to work with the same passion and dedication for the citizens as they do for the oligarchs, there would be no citizens who do not know the fate of their homes or live in tents, hungry, in shock, and in despair. The November 26 earthquake has left the earthquake of failure and the collapse of the cardboard state out of greed, corruption and incompetence,” he said.

Exit has been on-site in many rural areas in Tirana County and Durres county and can confirm there are many families still living in tents- most of which were provided by charities and NGOs, not the government. Countless others say they have not received a single bit of government aid and have no idea what will happen to their homes or their families.