A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
Description of the disaster
Heavy rainfall affected the territory of Albania starting on 30 November 2017. In some areas, the density of rain was 130 mm for two uninterrupted hours. River levels rapidly increased and water channels were blocked by debris streams, leading to floods in urban and densely-populated areas.
Based on the bulletin issued by Albania’s Geosciences, Energy, Water and Environment Institute forecasting heavy rains for the period between 29 November and 4 December 2017, the Directorate for Civil Emergency issued an early warning to the population for flooding and landslides. The Albanian central government ordered the establishment of Emergency Management Commissions across the country in response to the situation and all structures of police, army units, and emergency response teams to be placed on full alert. In addition, the Ministry of Education suspended school activities in the entire country. Thanks to the early warning and measures taken by the government agencies, no lives were lost. The number of people evacuating from these areas on their own was higher compared to previous floods.
On 2 December 2017, the Vjosa, Devoll, Osum and Seman rivers overflowed their banks, causing huge flooding in several areas and endangering also some major national highways. The populated areas most affected by the overflow of rivers were the following: Fushë- Krujë, Ura e Gjoles, Murqine, Vore, Kamez, Laprake, Darzeze, Jaru, Ferras, Kashisht, Martin, Novosele, Bishan, Mifol, Fitore, Ure Vajgurore, Korce, and Gjirokaster. The civil emergency structures, the military units and state police evacuated the most vulnerable families in the three most affected areas of Vlora, Fier and Fushë-Krujë, and, in the areas where the conditions allowed, started repairing the damaged infrastructure.
In the first week of March 2018, while relief items were being distributed to families affected by floods in December, the Shkodra area was flooded due to heavy rainfall in its northern parts, and the release of water from hydro-power plants/lakes in the Drini river (Fierza, Koman and Vau Dejes hydro-power stations). As a consequence, 25 families were evacuated to the dormitory of the school "Arben Broci". 160 houses were flooded and about 4,800 ha of agricultural land was flooded.
According to official figures provided by the government, 1,575 persons were evacuated and were accommodated at sports facilities/halls, school dormitories or at their relatives’. 3,500 houses were flooded, 65 bridges collapsed, and 56 public schools were damaged, while 15,000 hectares of land was brought under water. In some areas, the water was not suitable for drinking; and electricity supplies were also cut off in some of the affected areas. According to the information provided by the 22 Albanian Red Cross (ARC) branches which were operating in the flooded areas, approximately 4,700 families (or approximately 21,000 people) were affected by the floods in total.
According to the initial assessment, about 2,000 families were identified as worst-affected. As more information became available, and ARC secured better access, 3,150 families were recorded to have incurred considerable losses. The affected families had lost their winter food reserves and partly their livestock, home furniture and domestic electrical devices. Daily information received by the ARC branches showed that there was no need for Restoring Family Links (RFL) services as the evacuated families were accommodated at their relatives’ and at school facilities, and the communication network was also well functioning.