Turkey starts building new homes for victims of 2019 earthquake in Albania
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday for the construction of 522 residences by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) in the Albanian city of Lac. Residences will be allocated to people who lost their homes in two earthquakes in September and November 2019.
“They will be a new symbol of Turkish-Albanian friendship,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said via a video link at the ceremony in Albania, which was attended in person by Minister of Environment and Urban Development Murat Kurum and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
The project, which will cost around 42 million euros ($ 51 million), also includes 37 business units and covered parking for 375 vehicles.
Fifty-one people died and more than 900 people were injured in a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in November 2019. It was preceded by a lesser magnitude earthquake in September. The town of Lac was among the worst affected areas, where most of the houses were heavily damaged.
International aid has poured in to the country, which last experienced such a massive earthquake in 1979. Turkey hosted a donor conference for assistance in December 2019. It also sent a plane carrying search and rescue teams as well as emergency humanitarian aid such as food, hygiene kits, tents and blankets in the aftermath of the disaster. Further assistance was then sent by the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
Erdoğan said during the ceremony that Turkey was mobilized to help Albania, “a close friend and partner of Turkey in the Balkans”. “We see the joy of the Albanian people as our joy and their sorrow as our sorrow,” he said.
“We hope to complete construction and hand over new homes to our brothers and sisters who lost their homes in the earthquake. I believe that under the leadership of my friend Edi Rama, we will soon completely erase the traces of this catastrophe, ”said Erdoğan.