Bulgaria provides additional 200 000 leva to help Albania recover from earthquake

Bulgaria pledged 200 000 leva (about 100 000 euro) in additional humanitarian aid to Albania at a donor conference held by the European Union in Brussels, the Foreign Ministry said.

This comes on top of the 240 000 leva from the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry budget, and other assistance, in the first days after the November 26 2019 quake.

The quake, measured at 6.3 on the Richter scale, left 51 people dead, more than 900 injured, about 17 000 temporarily displaced, with the earthquake ultimately affecting more than 200 000 people in 11 municipalities. Thousands of buildings were destroyed and seriously damaged, including public and private infrastructure, homes, schools and health care facilities.

Out of the 1.15 billion euro total pledged by participants in the February 17 conference, the European Union including the Commission, its member states and the European Investment Bank announced 400 million euro for the reconstruction of Albania.

The European Commission has pledged 115 million euro from the EU budget. This includes a first 15 million euro grant to reconstruct and rehabilitate key public buildings such as schools.

The Commission is further making a proposal to the Council and Parliament for an additional 100 million euro in grants from the EU budget this year to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction of public and private buildings as well as the recovery of affected businesses.

The government of Albania, the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank jointly prepared a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report, which was released on February 5 2020 to mobilise the donor community. It reveals that the total impact of the disaster in the 11 affected municipalities amounts to more than 980 million euro and nearly 1.08 billion euro would be needed for recovery across all sectors. Most of the damage is in the housing sector, followed by the productive sector (such as business and tourism, agriculture, and cultural heritage) and the education sector.

“The Bulgarian contribution to the donor conference is an expression of our country’s solidarity with Albania in the crisis situation, as well as our comprehensive commitment to support Bulgaria’s priority region in the Western Balkans,” the Foreign Ministry said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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