Switzerland commits CHF 10.2 million following November earthquake in Albania

Bern, 17.02.2020 - At an international donor conference in Brussels on 17 February, Switzerland pledged a contribution of some CHF 10.2 million to help Albania address the significant damage caused by the earthquake of 26 November 2019. This was the most violent earthquake the country had experienced in the last 40 years. The conference was organised at the initiative of the European Commission.

At the end of November 2019, Albania was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre 10km north of Durres, the country's second largest city, which lies about 30km east of the capital Tirana. This natural disaster claimed 51 lives. At the official request of the Albanian government, Switzerland quickly came to the country's aid, sending experts in structural engineering to the affected region and an emergency response team from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA). More than 5,200 people benefited from the Swiss intervention.

Since 1992, as part of its cooperation with Eastern Europe, Switzerland has been supporting Albania with transition cooperation, focusing in particular on democratisation, decentralisation, economic development, urban infrastructure, energy and health. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Albania. For these reasons, it was natural and indeed essential to come to the aid of a partner country at this difficult time.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will thus earmark resources for reconstruction projects. In addition, disaster risk reduction and prevention measures will be adopted in order to complement cooperation and development programmes that are currently in preparation.

The 26 November earthquake destroyed or damaged many homes, with more than 83,000 in need of repair. In addition to the 51 dead, the disaster left almost 1,000 people injured, while up to 17,000 people have been displaced following the loss of their home.

Total damage is estimated at around CHF 900 million and reconstruction costs could amount to some CHF 1.15 billion.

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