EU to support Albania to overcome situation caused by earthquake
The European Union (EU) will support Albania to overcome the situation caused by the earthquake, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said here on Thursday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Lenarcic is paying an official visit to Albania to assess the damage caused by the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Albania on Nov. 26 and the primary needs for the reconstruction of the affected areas.
During his meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Lenarcic said the EU is strongly committed to doing everything possible to help Albania through these difficult days.
Lenarcic's visit follows Wednesday's announcement by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen of 15 million euros (around 16.6 million U.S. dollars) in EU funds to immediately support the Albanian people following the devastating earthquake.
Accompanied by Rama, Lenarcic visited a camp in Vora, 16 km from the capital Tirana, which shelters over 200 residents whose apartments were severely damaged by the earthquake.
Speaking to reporters, Lenarcic said that the first thing to do after this natural disaster is the preparation of needs assessment.
"The European Commission has been in contact not only with the United Nations, but also with the World Bank to prepare these needs assessment. Only after this has been done will we be able to have a figure and based on that figure to provide our assistance," Lenarcic said.
Meanwhile, Rama said this is just a first fund, guaranteed at maximum speed for a preliminary phase, which will be followed by other help on the basis of a detailed post-earthquake report they are preparing.
Lenarcic encouraged the Albanian authorities to look at the reconstruction phase from a broader perspective, including improvements in the field of natural disaster prevention and preparedness.
On Thursday, Lenarcic also visited the European Civil Protection Team, deployed after the earthquake in the port city of Durres through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
According to the EU Delegation to Albania, the EU has also allocated 300,000 euros (around 333,000 U.S. dollars) in immediate emergency funding to provide vulnerable people with shelter, food and psychosocial support, channelled through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.