Albania seeks EU assistance to deal with floods

The European Commission (EC) announced on Friday (January 8th) that Albania has requested activation of the European Civil Protections Mechanism to help it cope with floods caused by torrential rains and melting snows.

The mechanism was activated late Thursday, the EC said in a statement. Albania has requested boats and helicopters to evacuate residents, as well as water pumps, power generators, food and medicines.

A state of emergency was declared in northern Albania on Saturday, where 1,200 buildings have been flooded and hundreds of families evacuated.

Neighbouring Kosovo and Macedonia announced plans Saturday to provide assistance to Albania. Macedonia’s government decided at an extraordinary session to send pumps, rubber boats and tents to hardest-hit areas, while Kosovo pledged to donate 200,000 euros to Albania.

It will also send additional Kosovo Security Force officials, who arrived in Albania several days ago to help local authorities, and send fire-fighters. “This is only the beginning of aid,” Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said.

Floods also hit Bosnia and Herzegovina, swamping buildings in low-lying areas. Local authorities have warned of landslides, due to torrential rains

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