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26 November 2020 A year ago, Albania was hit by a deadly earthquake which caused significant casualties as well as widespread damage to public and private property. Affected sites included educational facilities and cultural heritage monuments.
The European Commission has pledged €115 million in grants to support reconstruction through the EU4Schools and the EU4Culture programmes. Works under both programmes are ongoing.
Earlier this week, EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca visited two of the schools currently under repair and reconstruction in Durrës and Kruja. He said: “Schools are the real symbol of recovery for society, and offer a new beginning for the children affected by the destruction of their schools. The work sites I visited are the embodiment of the solid ties of solidarity between the citizens of the EU and Albania. Since day one, the European Union has continuously been on the frontline of helping Albania.”
The EU4Schools programme is providing €75 million to rebuild and repair 58 educational facilities in the 11 earthquake-affected municipalities through the United Nations Development Programme. Twenty thousand school and kindergarten children, as well as more than 200,000 community members, will benefit from the programme.
The Albanian economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which has faced a double disaster this year with the damage of the country’s cultural heritage sites and the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic. The EU4Culture project, agreed in October, seeks to address this situation by revitalising earthquake-affected cultural heritage sites in Albania with a focus on boosting tourism and local economic development. The EU4Culture provides €40 million for the restoration of cultural heritage sites through the United Nations Office for Project Services.
The reconstruction work for both programmes combines the “Build Back Better” and “Build Better Together” approaches for every community — bringing together local governments, communities and public institutions in designing and implementing rapid recovery activities through transparent systems, while at the same time promoting ownership and the sustainability of the investment.
More Information: The European Union's response to the November 2019 earthquake in Albania
This is an adaptation of an article published by the Delegation of the European Union to Albania. Read the original article
Photo Credit: ©2019 European Union (photographer: Mrinë Godanca- The EU response to deadly earthquakes in Albania