Photo: UNDP

Brussels. 17 February 2020—The international community has pledged more than a billion euros (US$1.25 billion) to help Albania recover from the devastating November 2019 earthquake in a conference organized by the European Union.

The amount is expected to cover the country’s recovery needs after the strongest earthquake to hit Albania in more than 30 years killed 51 people, increased the poverty rate by 2.3% and hit more than 1% of GDP. It is estimated that 220,000 people – the equivalent of 10% of the country’s population – has been affected.

A post-disaster needs assessment (PDNA) undertaken by the European Union, the United Nations, the World Bank and the Government of Albania appealed for € 1.08 billion from the international community to rebuild houses, schools, businesses and other vital infrastructure. That amount will also fund an upgrade in the country’s disaster preparedness.

“UN agencies have joined forces in developing and implementing the recovery measures based on the sectorial needs as identified by the Government,” said Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS.

“Eventually, what we want to see is a country and people more resilient to any potential risk further down the line”, she added.

UNDP is taking the lead in supporting businesses and economic recovery, rebuilding community infrastructure and strengthening the country’s national disaster preparedness.

Spoljaric called for transparency in the recovery effort and encouraged the Albanian government to streamline its disaster preparedness, pointing out that the country is the most vulnerable to disasters in Europe. She added that a strong recovery programme would provide sound foundations for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Albania.

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