• Short Summary

    In Albania, last week's (15 -16 April) earthquakes killed thirty-five people and made forty-six thousand homeless.

  • Description

    In Albania, last week's (15 -16 April) earthquakes killed thirty-five people and made forty-six thousand homeless. Figures released by the Albanian authorities said that, inside two buildings were either damaged or destroyed, and almost four hundred people were injured.

    SYNOPSIS: This is Shkoda, an important inland trading centre in the northeast of Albania, some eighty-eight kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital, Tirana. Along with Lezha, a copper-mining township thirty-two kilometres (20 miles) to the south, it was the hardest hit of Albanian urban areas in quakes, which also devastated large areas of Yugoslavia. Houses, schools and almost five hundred government buildings were damaged.

    The President of Albania's Council of Ministers, Mr. Mehmet Shehu, visited Shkoda to find out the extent of the damage. Immediately after the quakes struck, the government set up emergency measures to help the victims. mr Shehu was accompanied by a secretary of the central committee, Mr. Ramiz Alia, as he spoke to the homeless, and those who had suffered family loss.

    The official ATA news agency said the government had described the earthquakes as a national calamity, and had sent salvage and construction brigades into the wrecked regions. The government wants all damaged buildings to be rebuilt in a little over five months, by the first of October this year. The state has said it will meet all costs of rebuilding. It has also promised all families who have lost relatives in the disaster that it will pay all funeral costs. Troops and villagers alike have pitched in to clear the debris and retrieve any salvable belongings.

    Mr. Shehu continues his talks with officials and townspeople to learn more of their immediate and longer-term needs. They would need a tremendous team effort, with no further setbacks, to complete the rebuilding programmes by the date the government has set.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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    Available on request
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