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Albania: Earthquake Revised Emergency Appeal n° MDRAL008

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This Revised Emergency Appeal seeks a total of 5,1 million Swiss francs (increased from 3 million CHF) to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to continue supporting the Albanian Red Cross (ARC) to deliver direct assistance and support to 10,000 people for a period of 12 months and 50,000 people through community-based activities, with a focus on the following areas of focus and strategy for implementation: Shelter; Livelihoods and basic needs; Health; Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI); Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Strengthening National Society.

The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments. More details will be available in the Revised Emergency Plan of Action.

The operational strategy


On 26 November 2019, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Albania at 3.54 am local time, centred 30 km west of Tirana, at a depth of 10 km followed by a second earthquake near Durres (34 km northwest of Tirana) and aftershocks in subsequent weeks. 51 people lost their lives1 and 913 people were injured (as of 9 February 2020). The Government of Albania declared a state of emergency on 27 November lasting for 30 days, later extended until 31 March 2020.

The most affected administrative regions are the prefectures of Durrës, Lezhë and Tiranë. Structural damage is widespread, yet focused on old buildings and on those built with poor building practice in the transition area of the 1990s and early 2000s. Additional administrative areas considered secondary affected are those where people have been evacuated to by the government, including Berat, Dibër, Elbasan, Fier, Kukës, Shkodra and Vlorë.

Structural damage assessment by Albanian experts and supported by international capacities are still ongoing. The last update available (as shown in Table 1) indicates that 5,080 buildings (including apartment blocks, single-family houses, hotels, schools, infrastructure, etc) have been categorized under DS4 and DS5, equating to being uninhabitable. In the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) a total of 11,490 housing units have been classified as fully destroyed / to be demolished.

Health facilities, as well as electricity, water and sanitation and communication systems were not significantly affected and are functioning on pre-disaster level. Medical care for the affected population is widely implemented through the governmental health service.

A significant number of schools are out of function (46 fully destroyed / 45 partly damaged) according to the Government of Albania (GoA). While all schoolchildren are back in education, pupils of the aforementioned schools need to travel to intact schools, where classes are held in different shifts.

Informal governmental estimations on the overall number of displaced persons and currently living in temporary accommodations stand at 32,000 (as reflected in the table below). As of 10 February, there are no earthquake affected people staying in hotels anymore. With the approved rent bonus most of them are now staying in rented accommodations according to the Civil Protection. Winterisation of tents became a priority in late December and early January, with a large percentage of tent [up to 70%, according to the GoA] not suitable for winter conditions. A governmental “rent subsidy” scheme (cash for rent) has been introduced to support the displaced population.