Earthquake relief work in Albania

Before the onset of winter people need mainly protection against the cold

by Sebastian Zausch,  2019/12/05

There was a four-person family. It found refuge in a car: the parents and their children have been sleeping there for days. It is their new home now since approximately one week ago the earth in Albania shook like never before. The people, who live in the earthquake region, are still afraid to return to their homes. Once and again there are aftershocks – not always as heavy like last week, when more than 50 people lost their lives, 650 were injured and thousands became homeless. But: within one week the earth shook more than 1,300 times in Albania.

Whole families are living in cars at the moment. Photo: humedica

Many people have found refuge with their relatives or have fled to the neighboring country Kosovo. Some have also found accommodation in one of the tent camps organized by the government. Time and again our intervention team meets people, who camp outdoors – or, like the four-person family, in their cars. Our team helps immediately and hands over a tent to the family father the same day.

Many people have to sleep in tents despite the cold temperatures. Photo: humedica

What kind of help do the people in the earthquake area need? Our intervention team, which travels Albania these days, has to figure this out and to distribute relief goods with our local partners Swiss Foundation for Innovation (SFI) and Christ for the Nations Albania (CfN). Tents, hygiene articles, blankets and food for those, who have fled from the tremors. All these items are urgently needed in these days, when in Albania, too, winter starts to set in.

The whole house wall has been destroyed by the earthquake. Photo: humedica

Besides the cities Durrës and Thumanë our helpers focus in particular on two villages, which seem a bit forgotten by the general aid activities: Peza and Ndroq. When the humedica team arrived, it was as if no other helpers had been there before them. The people were still highly traumatized, they were afraid to go back into their houses. One of the men, who had found refuge in a tent, advised our intervention team member Dieter Schmidt to keep enough distance to the building: „Otherwise things will fall from above on the tent. This is dangerous.“

Presently, an aid flotilla with dressing materials is ready to set off to Albania. We also were able to organize hot-water bottles and other important relief goods. Needed are for example bigger winterproof tents, warm blankets, sleeping bags as well as heating fuel, which can support the people in surviving the cold winter times.

The people are grateful for any kind of help. Photo: humedica

You, too, can help. Please support our help for the earthquake victims in Albania with your donation. Thank you so much.

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