Saturday, 30 November 2019
The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that befell Albania on Tuesday morning, with aftershocks the following day, claimed about 50 lives and left 2,000 injured and thousands homeless. Rescue efforts largely winded down on Saturday after mass funerals on Friday.
The most seriously affected areas were the coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane. The tremor was felt in Albania’s capital Tirana and in other places as far away as 370 km northeast of the epicentre.
It is the second major earthquake in the past three months to hit Albania and the strongest in more than 40 years.
The EU reacted immediately on Tuesday morning with European Parliament President David Sassoli tweeting that all of Europe stands in solidarity with the country and its people.
“The European Union continues to support Albania at this challenging time. We will provide emergency help for as long as needed. Search and rescue teams, mobilised through the European Civil Protection Mechanism, are on the ground,” said Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.
The Protection Mechanism was activated at the request of the Albanian authorities on the very same day, 26 November. In addition to three search and rescue teams of more than 200 staff deployed to Albania, the EU is helping address Albania’s request for additional support such as in-kind assistance and structural engineers.
A number of neighbouring Member States and candidate countries participated in the rescue work.
The Albanian authorities have launched an appeal for solidarity with Albania to help the families affected by the earthquake and contribute to their recovery. People can donate any amount they like through the state portal https://e-albania.al/donate.
In an unrelated event in the European Parliament on 27 November, President-elect Ursula von der Leyen presented the new college of Commissioners and said that, “we must demonstrate to our friends in the Western Balkans that we share the same continent, we share the same history, we share the same culture – and we will share the same destiny too. Our door remains open.”
The Brussels Times