More than a month has passed since the tragic magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck Albania on the night of 26 November. A tragedy that has caused 51 victims, tens of thousands of displaced persons and that has brought to light some serious problems hidden in the sand over the years.
Not only in Albania, because the problem of unauthorized and lack of building safety standards involves all the Balkans: in some countries, such as Romania and Bulgaria, to worry is the fact that governments have not dealt with the risks related to aging of the buildings, while in others, such as Albania, the most recent buildings, from the post-communist era, are the ones to worry about, when the important thing was to build and the security measures were put in the background.
NYT: the lesson of the Albanian earthquake
In a long time article entitled "The lesson of the Albanian earthquake: the Balkans are not ready", the New York Times analyzed all these factors underlining how "the region is poorly prepared for a possible next major earthquake".
"If you had seen this place when it was a swamp, a place where people came to fish, you would never have thought that they would build houses here. ”- says Xhafer Ahmetaj, citizen of Durres, to the New York Times.
Yet there, as in many other risky areas of the country, buildings and houses were built mainly due to a construction sector too often characterized by corruption and illegal conduct. Today, as the shock of the tragic earthquake subsides, experts continue to estimate the damage and potential dangers of buildings built that do not comply with safety standards.
While the reconstruction process continues in the Eagle Country, the tragedy has served as a wake-up call in other countries in the region. In Romania, a team of engineers is inspecting several buildings in the capital Bucharest to identify those at greatest earthquake risk while in Bulgaria the redevelopment of buildings built during the communist regime continues.
"We need more courage, more political courage. We have to accept our vulnerability"- said the founder of" Re: Rise "(first Romanian NGO focused on reducing seismic risk) Matei Sumbascu to the New York Times.