Registering 6.4 on the Richter scale, the November 26 earthquake in Albania has caused terrible damage and loss, leaving 51 people dead, over 650 injured, and over 4,000 people displaced and homeless. Additionally, the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have directly impacted an estimated 100,000 people. The country’s infrastructure has been profoundly affected: the government reported a total of 6,697 uninhabitable buildings, while 1,183 buildings have collapsed and 5,514 are very badly damaged in the wake of this disaster. According to a recent UN report, an estimated 30,000 people need assistance.

Daily life for the people of Albania has also been severely impacted. Schools are still not operating. Displaced people were staying in tents, but later moved into hotels provided by the government as the coming winter leaves many hotels vacant. However, many people are staying in indoor sports arenas and an open-air football field, or in homes for the elderly. Although the government was initially hesitant to provide open-air tents, they soon realized the needs are larger than originally expected. A tent camp was set up in Vore, and the General Secretary for the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Mr. Ndreza, expressed to HOPE worldwide an urgent need for more tents, especially for impacted rural families that need to stay close to their properties, homes and livestock to survive. Many families in this region still sleep in their cars at night, staying in coffee bars during the day.

A HOPE worldwide disaster relief team rushed to bring help for the people affected, delivering 200 blankets, 50 water filtration units (Wine to Water), hygiene kits and baby supplies for the people in need, and provided vital health services. The team also went to assess damage in the communities of Tirana, Durres, Shijak, Vore, Maminas, Lezhe, Shengjin, Lac, Mamurras, and Thumane. Search and rescue operations have been completed, but thousands of impacted buildings need urgent safety inspections to see if they are still safe to live in, or need to be demolished like many others.

A number of people have also been sheltered in the Republic of Kosovo, the country’s northern neighbor, where they have been transferred with the assistance of the military. We had a chance to meet Mr. Albin Kurti, prime minister-elect of Kosovo, a country which has graciously welcomed Albanian refugees from this disaster, just as Albania had sheltered citizens from Kosovo during the bloody civil war in the late 1990’s. Mr. Kurti thanked HOPE worldwide for their help during this difficult time. The Minister of Interior Affairs and mayors of Lac and Shijak also expressed their gratitude and need for help.

But we still need your help. The HOPE worldwide team has been in communication with the international community organized by the European Union and the United Nations, as well as the government of Albania. Currently, the major need for assistance seems to be in psychosocial care, as people live in fear, traumatized from the earthquake and aftershocks. As winter approaches, the most pressing need is for the displaced people in the west-central community of Shijak, Albania, where 242 people are staying, including vulnerable citizens such as children and the elderly. Life in shelters can be very difficult, and people need child-friendly spaces and activities to pass the time. Additional winterized tents will be helpful for rural families as demand is high. The people of this country of three million also urgently need education and training in disaster preparedness as we help in the recovery process.

Thank you so much for your support and please continue to pray for the Albanian people and those affected by the recent earthquake.

To support our Global Response Disaster efforts, please Donate Now.

For information about the HOPE worldwide Global Disaster Response Team or questions contact:

Learn more about our Global Disaster Response at