In the early hours of Tuesday morning November 26th Albania was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, in the darkness of the night people flooded the streets and abandoned their homes as buildings began to crumble, the impact of this earthquake has been devastating. The death toll has risen to 40 and the number of those injured and left homeless continues to rise as aftershocks cause further damage to already fragile homes and buildings. The situation is critical.
Rescue teams continue to search the rubble for survivors but the aftershocks are making this incredibly difficult task even more challenging. Aid has been sent from many countries and the kindness of those in better situations shown towards those left traumatised and homeless has been heroic and admirable, but the emergency services are drastically overstretched and are unable to cope with the sheer volume of need in the communities impacted.
We (Louise Mac Elwain and Máire Rowland) are two Irish citizens who have been volunteering with an organisation in Tirana, Albania (PVN Albania) and are assisting with the emergency housing and aid situation in the capital city. PVN Albania has been receiving Irish volunteers since 2015 and has been providing outreach programmes to disadvantaged communities in Albania for a number of years. Since the earthquake we have been involved in the emergency housing facility for those left homeless by the disaster, as the hours lapse the numbers of those looking for shelter continues to increase. Many are without even the most basic of items, baby food, clothing etc. All of them are traumatised and uncertain whether they can ever return home. We are appealing to the kindness of our fellow Irish people to donate whatever they can to assist us in our efforts to meet the needs of these people. We have seen the impact of this disaster and understand that this is not something that will be fixed in a few days, help will be needed for many months. We want to ensure that our organisation can continue to provide people with basic amenities as the crisis continues.
Where will your money go:
- to provide goods and services to those in emergency housing centres, this includes but is not limited to food, clothing, toiletries, medical services, transport to medical services, bedding. In particular baby food and nappies.
- to maintain the current facilities, Albania is a poor country and this situation has overstretched all working in social services, it is difficult to see how these levels of emergency services can be maintained. We know that there are many that will be living in these housing facilities for months to come and we aim to ensure that their basic needs will be continued to be met as the influx of international aid slows down and the government struggles to provide for these services.
There are many children now living in these centres and we aim to provide activities and entertainment for them in the coming months. They are very traumatised by this situation and as the centres become more crowded they are often left without space to play or facilities.
As foreigners in this country we have always been welcomed with open arms. Tirana is our home, it is a noisy, vibrant, welcoming place that has now been shocked into silence and mourning. It is hardly recognisable from the city it was a few days ago. Yesterday (November 28th) is Albania's Independence Day, a day of national pride, it is normally a holiday with parties, traditional dances, a celebration of freedom and culture, today it is almost silent, event celebrations have been replaced by memorials and funeral ceremonies. We hope that the country will recover from this tragedy and the solidarity shown by everyone since the disaster is a credit to the Albanian people, we want to ensure that our organisation has the means to help those impacted in whatever way that we can. Today we are heartbroken but we are hopeful that the people of Ireland will help us in our mission to ensure that those in dire need will be cared for.
We are grateful for any support that you can offer, a small donation can go a long way and could address an urgent need for a very grateful family.
We promise to keep you all updated on how your donations have been allocated and how your generosity has helped.
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We thank you from the bottom of our hearts
- Tom Cartaxo
- Genc Muca
- Anne Brady
Organizer and beneficiary
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