Distribution of compensation grants for rebuilding quake damaged houses begins in Lezhe, Kruje and Kurbin

The distribution process of the government’s compensation grants for the families affected by the November 26 earthquake went on today in the municipalities of Lezhe, Kruje and Kurbin. A total of 4810 affected households in the three municipalities are eligible for the cash compensation to over cost of restoration work as part of the post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction program launched by Albanian government.

At an online meeting with the mayors of Lezhe, Kruje and Kurbin, Prime Minister Edi Rama shared the data on the current stage of this crucially important process in the country’s recovery efforts in the aftermath of the last year’s disaster. PM Rama and the State Minister for Reconstruction, Arben Ahmetaj, followed the distribution process of the compensation grants at the local post service offices via a live stream on the internet.

“A total of 20.087 affected families have received the compensation to date. The total of amount is estimated at around $76 million. But, with the verification process underway in order to provide compensation to every affected family, this fund is expected to amount to more than $80 million,” PM Rama said.

The three mayors provided fact and figures on the number of benefiting families and the progress of this broad process through which the government will grant full compensation to the quake-affected families to cover the repair and restoration cost.

Specifically, local authorities in Lezhe municipality have endorsed a financial assistance measure of $ 2.5 million, while distribution of the compensation grants is already underway for an initial group of more than 200 families. The municipality of Kruje has approved a financial measure to cover cost for an estimated damage worth $6.6 million and some 897 contracts have been already signed. The municipality of Kurbin has approved a fund of $4.7 million and more than 1000 contracts have been signed and the fund disbursement has begun.

Commenting specifically on the case of each of the quake-hit municipalities, the government head Edi Rama said that Kruja has been one of the worst-affected areas by the devastating earthquake. “It is actually the area which is designed to host four major development and reconstruction projects, namely two in Fushe-Kruje and Kruja and two others in the villages of Thumane and Bubq. In the meantime, a large number of new houses and apartment buildings will be constructed in the whole territory of this municipality. In terms of the financial support for the affected families, the fund earmarked for Kruja is higher than the support for Lezhe and Kurbin because of the damages Kruje has sustained,” he said.

On his part, the Minister of State for Reconstruction, Arben Ahmetaj, providing a brief outline on the reconstruction program said that the municipalities of Kruje, Lezhe and Kurbin will benefit from all components of the program. “Three educational facilities will be built in Lezhe by the Albanian Development Fund and the UNDP, which will build the nine-year school Gjergj Kastrioti and the dormitory of the vocational school . Three more schools will be build by international donors. In the meantime, two sites are selected to host development and infrastructure programs. The two sites cover an area of 12.6 hectares. Meanwhile, 13 new schools will be built in Kruja in combined projects due to be implemented by the Albanian Development Fund, UNDP and Slovenia. Five more schools need to undergo reconstruction. There are a number of sites where development and housing projects will be implemented, which will include projects of high-quality construction. The same goes for the municipality of Kurbin, where six educational facilities will be built from scratch and four more schools will undergo restoration. A colossal work has been done over the weekend to demolish the damaged buildings and solid waste materials are now being removed in the site, which is set to host the project due to be implemented by the Turkish Housing Agency. In the meantime, a 18-ha site has been also designed to host development projects in the town of Laç. The mass reconstruction program for the collective houses or apartment buildings has already started in all municipalities, except the municipality of Tirana. The groundbreaking work for construction of apartment buildings in these three municipalities is slated to kick off by end of September,” Ahmetaj said.

Concluding, PM Rama called for continued efforts to maintain momentum of the ongoing process. “I would like to thank you and urge everyone to keep working intensely. I want to assure citizens that no quake-affected family will be left alone, but quite the contrary we will stand by them either by providing financial support for repair and restoration work or by constructing and handing over the keys to their new houses both in urban and rural areas,” PM Rama said.