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News 04 Dec 17

Albania Braces for Fifth Day of Severe Floods

With more than 4,700 households suffering flood damage, Albania's government is mulling ways to get homes and businesses insured against such natural disasters, to cut future compensation costs. 

Fatjona Mejdini
BIRN
Tirana
Army forces trying to evacuate people in the southern region of Vlora. Photo: LSA/Gent Shkullaku

Albania on Monday faced a fifth day of severe floods, which have forced 600 families from their homes and left more than 4,700 households suffering flood-related damaged.

No new deaths as a result of floods have been reported since an electrician from Albania’s state-owned energy company, OSHEE, lost his life while trying to restore power connections.

At a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama and other ministers, Emergency Committee chief Sander Lleshi said that, thanks to the intervention of the army and other structures, 1,552 people had been rescued. Some 10,622 hectares were reported to be underwater.

"Fier and Vlora regions are still problem areas, while in other parts of the country the situation is stabilised but not normalised," he said.

 

The Vjosa river is the south of Albania is seen as the biggest risk, as its waters have been rising to unprecedented levels.

While the army is working to save lives, destroyed bridges have hampered the rescue mission.

"Some 65 bridges have been damaged. This is going to cost us in the next phase of rehabilitation," Lleshi noted.

Prime Minister Rama emphasised that once the emergency situation is over, the government would prioritise a legal initiative to insure houses and businesses against flooding.

"We are the only place in the world that doesn't have a law like this, so the people affected by the flood are awaiting compensation from the state budget alone," he said.

However, Rama said that this time the government will provide the necessary compensation for damage, while stressing that more must be done to prevent situations like this in future.

Montenegro on Sunday became the first country to provide Albania with extra equipment to help the Albanian government deal with the floods.

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