By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – The international community has pledged 1.150 billion euros ($1.25 billion) to support Albania’s long-term recovery following a devastating earthquake last November, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday.
The announcement was made after the “Together for Albania” international donor’s conference organized by the European Union.
Besides EU member states and institutions, several other countries and international organizations participated in the event, including Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UN and the Work Bank.
EU member states, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank together offered €400 million ($433.3 million) help for with post-disaster recovery.
“The EU stands for solidarity,” von der Leyen said. “The people of Albania know that they belong in our European family – now more than ever.”
Faruk Kaymakci, Turkey’s deputy foreign minister and director for EU affairs, also commented during the conference.
“The total value of Turkey’s aid and pledge to earthquake victims in Albania is approximately €46.3 million ($50.1 million),” Kaymakci said.
He said Turkey was among the first responders to the disaster by sending a search and rescue team as well as humanitarian aid. The country also contributed to rebuilding houses and the Preze Castle Mosque.
“It is amazing how solidarity spread in the heart of Europe,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said after the conference.
Rama hailed the “amazing pledges from the EU, Italy, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.”
He called the results “above magic” and noted they would have considered half the final sum a success.
“It is incredibly heartwarming what we witnessed,” Rama said, visibly struggling with his emotions.
Northwestern Albania was struck by an earthquake on Nov. 26 which killed 51 and injured over 3,000 others and caused severe damage to infrastructure and buildings in 11 municipalities.