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Albania: Floods - Emergency Plan of Action Final Report Operation n° MDRAL006

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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Sustained heavy rainfalls starting on 7 November 2016 have caused recurrent flooding on the Drini, Mat and Vjosa rivers in Albania. The most affected areas were Fushe-Kruja, Tirana, Lezha, Shkodra, Shijak, Mat, Dibra, and later Elbasani, Berat, Gjirokastra and Vlora. Water from the five hydropower reserve lakes had to be released through the emergency gates onto the Fierza, Koman, Vau i Dejes, Ulza and Shkopet rivers. Illegal constructions near the river basins also resulted in water streams descending into nearby towns. Some 1,000 families from 250 houses at risk were most affected by the flooding and had to be evacuated. Families lost their winter food reserves as well as home furniture and electro-domestic devices.

While the ARC was distributing emergency assistance to the flood-affected families, in January 2017, extreme cold weather hit the northern and north-eastern parts of the country as well as the area of Tirana. Historic low temperatures were recorded reaching -29 °C in the mountains near Pershkopia,
Kukes, Puka, Shkodra, Korca and -15 °C in the capital as opposed to average winter temperatures of around 0 °C. Some 70 per cent of the country’s territory was covered in snow.

In response to both the flood and extreme winter emergencies, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) established several emergency headquarters across the country. Mayors and local authority representatives were instructed to take all necessary precautions and advise the population in affected and/or isolated areas to restrain from movement. Schools and colleges were closed. The Government mobilized the State Police, the Military Units and the Fire Brigade Units to assist with the evacuation of people from their homes and schools. The municipality of Tirana distributed ready-to-eat food parcels (sufficient for two to three days), water and provided beds in four collective centres where some of the evacuated people were accommodated. The government also started to repair damaged bridges and roads to restore transportation.