Tirana/Budapest/Geneva, 14 February 2020 – At least 32,000 people remain homeless and need additional urgent assistance almost three months on from the devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake that shook central Albania.
An estimated 10,000 of these people are living in winterized tents, even as night-time temperatures plummet below zero, while others are staying with relatives or in temporary accommodation such as hotels or rented apartments.
According to authorities, more than 11,500 homes were damaged beyond repair by the earthquake and at least another 84,000 are in need of significant repair. Ninety schools remain closed due to damage. In all, an estimated 222,000 people were directly affected, according to the Albanian Red Cross.
The Secretary General of Albanian Red Cross, Mr. Artur Katuci, said:
“Our volunteers and staff have been on the ground since the beginning to ensure that basic needs are met. But it is clear that despite the efforts of the Red Cross and other responders, many people are still in desperate need of support.”
In response, the Albanian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are expanding their emergency operation. They are appealing for an additional 2.1 million Swiss francs on top of the 3 million Swiss francs already raised to support relief efforts, bringing the total appeal figure to 5.1 million Swiss francs.
These new funds will go towards a cash assistance programme and helping communities reduce their risk to future disasters. Around 1,100 families will receive monthly grants of 120 Swiss francs (13,450 Albanian lek) per family member for a period of five months – an intervention designed to help people bridge the time until more permanent shelters become available.
“We are thankful for all assistance from the Red Cross Red Crescent family and beyond. This appeal will enable us to directly help 10,000 of the most vulnerable people, and 50,000 people in total through community-based activities for a period of 12 months,” Mr Katuci added.
More than 350 local Red Cross volunteers have been involved in the response, providing first aid, psychosocial support and food and water, as well as relief supplies such as blankets and hygiene items in almost 100 locations affected by the earthquake.
The Red Cross has supported more than 25,000 people since the disaster.