After the earthquake that struck Albania on Saturday 21 September, the European Union and its member states immediately made themselves available to offer assistance.
Fourteen member countries provided Albania with materials and expertise: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
The EU ambassador in Tirana, Luigi Soreca, visited with the Albanian defense minister, Olta Xhaçka, and the ambassadors of Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia, the rooms of the state reserves where the first aid materials and humanitarian aid for the populations hit by the earthquake and floods have been preserved.
"On behalf of the European Union, I would like to congratulate and thank my colleagues here today for their generosity. We are also proud of the effectiveness of our civil protection mechanism. It took only a few days after its activation to set up an experienced 8 team and send it to Albania.
Solidarity is at the heart of the European Union. It brings together our different cultures, ethnicities and languages. It is at the root of what we are as a continent after centuries of war and conflict. We support each other. The Emergency Response Coordination Center addresses the needs of our citizens and not just within the EU, as solidarity knows no limits.
Through the coordination of the European Union, the supply and first aid areas, emergency tents, electricity generators and food aid packages were sent to the affected areas. In the long term, some of the material already stored will help Albania respond more quickly in the event of another disaster.
This time, the damage was limited and, fortunately, nobody died because of the earthquakes. But the last few weeks should serve as an example for Albania. Albania needs to improve its civil protection system and take more responsibility for its disaster preparedness.
The rapid establishment of a fully functioning civil protection agency is essential. The ability to prepare and respond to civil protection personnel and communities is also essential. I would also like to emphasize the importance of raising awareness to build a "new culture of prevention" in people. It is very important to be prepared for disasters.
Finally, allow me to conclude this speech by thanking the Albanian authorities for their prompt and excellent response. What we have seen in these two weeks is the European Union at its best: solidarity and efficiency combined for the benefit of citizens not only in EU countries, but throughout the world. Many thanks! - declared Luigi Soreca in his speech.
Pas tërmetit që preku Shqipërinë dy javë më parë, Bashkimi Evropian dhe shtetet anëtare të tij ofruan menjëherë ndihmë….