Shijak, over 500 new houses under reconstruction 

Besnike is the old lonely woman in Maminas, whose home was reduced to rubble along with hundreds of other dwellings in the area after the devastating earthquake that hit Albania on Nov 26 last year. Today, she is back to open the doors of her newly-built and much better home than the one she lived in before the earthquake. Besnike said that the new home, built within a month, is something she had never imagined ever before.

Prime Minister Edi Rama today was the guest to the new house, one of the first private dwellings built in record time in this area under the government’s post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction programme.

“This is not just a house, but a magnificent building. At my age, I had never imagined something like this. The builders here have done a miracle. I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Besnike said.

According to Mayor Arbana, more than 508 individual homes are currently being constructed and the keys to the initial 80 houses will be handed over to the quake-affected families in the next two weeks.

The Minister of State for Reconstruction Arben Ahmetaj explained that high priority will be given to the construction of individual homes for the needy families, vulnerable and lonely old people, the families of the fallen policemen in the line of duty, or poor families. “This is the first part of the reconstruction programme, which includes the municipality of Shijak and Kavaje. Work kicked off in August to construct 667 individual houses and they are expected to complete within five months. We are already handing over the keys to the first newly-built homes according to the priority list, as it is the case of this aged lady, or to the families of the fallen police officers, the single mothers and the families in dire economic situation. Construction of the 667 new homes will complete by the end of year. In the meantime, reconstruction work is also underway for construction of 700 houses in the areas of Durres, Kruje, Fushe-Kruje and Thumane.”

In addition to the construction of individual homes, work will continue to construct apartment buildings and the new residential neighbourhoods, which will set new modern standards in terms of housing, living spaces and urban development.

“I was really devastated to see that the homes of the poorest and most vulnerable ones were worst-hit by the earthquake. But we are very happy to see today that the homes of the poorest families are being constructed first and their new houses are much stronger and better built than many houses around here, because the new buildings meet the best standards. You certainly understand that it is easier to construct individual homes rather than apartment buildings. We face a number of problems regarding construction of the apartment buildings in Durres, because it will take time to demolish them. We can’t use explosion to tear them down and therefore we will demolish them gradually. Once demolition process completes, we will kick of their construction. We are also building the new residential neighbourhood, yet it takes a little patients and time.”

The Premier also visited the newly-built home of another lonely and disabled woman.