Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors

by Nehemiah Gateway USA
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
Aid for Albanian Earthquake Survivors
A tent home in winter
A tent home in winter

Dear friends--

The people who lost their homes in the 2019 Albanian earthquake are now living through a second crisis-- in tents. 

Because the Albanian government moved quickly to close schools and lock down the country after the first cases were discovered in Tirana in March, there have so far been relatively few cases. 

For the four thousand families who lost their homes, including the 63 living in the village of Peza outside of Tirana, it has been particularly important to avoid exposure. Tent living makes everyday hygiene very difficult, with whole new difficulties washing hands, bathing, and cleaning clothes. It also complicates tasks like cooking and doing homework.The lockdown seems to have kept the virus away from these vulnerable families; NG partner ProFamilja has helped them to get through long days in their tents.

Following all best safety practices, the ProFamilja team have brought meals and food deliveries to the families, as well as clothing and blankets. They have also been creating and sharing Albanian-language content via their Facebook and YouTube channels, reinforcing positive parenting practices and supporting healthy families doing this trying time. They are even "hosting" a daily storytime for local children-- a particularly important activity for children with no books in their temporary homes.

Your donation has helped the ProFamilja team to help these families during a doubly difficult time-- both meeting immediate needs and offsetting the challenges of sheltering in place for months, in tents.

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

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Naim and his family outside their tent
Naim and his family outside their tent

Nehemiah Gateway team members recently visited the village of Peza, which is located about 40 minutes by road southwest from Tirana. Peza has a population of about 7000 people, and is noted in Albanian history as the site where, in 1942, Albanian resistance forces gathered to coordinate in the fight against fascism. 

This small community was hit hard by the earthquake: the local school was so badly damaged it had to be demolished, and the medical clinic was moved to a new, rented space. Sixty-three families lost their homes altogether and are currently living in tents, in the dead of winter.

When the earthquake hit Peza, Tahir and his family were at home. They ran outside in the middle of the night, and spent the following hours sitting on the doorstep of their home. Their house has since been condemned due to heavy damage caused by the earthquake. Since then, they have lived in a tent and in a temporary living structure provided by the local government. 

Naim’s family also lost their house in the earthquake.  Although the tent they now call home holds a small stove, their children, ages 4 and 7, have struggled to stay healthy. The cold and damp of Albanian winter challenges the immune system—especially in circumstances where it is so hard to keep clean. When the NG team visited, one of the children had been sick for almost two weeks and had a high fever.

Among homeless earthquake survivors, these difficulties are all too typical. In winter, nighttime temperatures are below freezing, and the rain and snow are cold. In Peza, many of the people hardest hit by the earthquake were already living in poverty.  The earthquake turned difficult situations into desperate ones, and desperate situations into emergencies, easily overlooked in a disaster of this scale.

Nehemiah Gateway is partnering with Profamilja, a small Albanian NGO based in Peza, to bring relief to earthquake survivors like Tahir and Naim’s families. Since the earthquake, ProFamilja has worked with volunteers to supply tents for all sixty-three families, disbursed ten tons of food packages, distributed 1,700 blankets, worked with World Central Kitchen to serve 25,000 hot meals, and provided 100 pairs of shoes to school children in need. 

Your donation helped families like Tahir's and Naim's get through the first two months following the earthquake. At this time, Profamilja is starting to help people rebuild their homes. You can help the rebuilding effort by continuing to support this campaign at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/aid-for-albanian-earthquake-survivors-1/

Thank you very much for your compassionate and generous support. 

All the best,

Sarah Pita

Naim's daughter outside the tent
Naim's daughter outside the tent
Tahir's family's tents.
Tahir's family's tents.
Bathrooms like these make basic hygiene difficult.
Bathrooms like these make basic hygiene difficult.
Tahir's wife and two children
Tahir's wife and two children
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Dear friends,

It has been a month since the strongest earthquake in decades shook Albania. Homes and businesses were wrecked; 51 people lost their lives, 2,000 were injured, and 4,000 lost their homes. There were tremors for days afterwards—over 1,300 aftershocks, even as rescuers searched for people in the rubble.

Pogradec, where Nehemiah Gateway (NG) has its headquarters, is about 100 miles from the epicenter. For a few days after the earthquake, Pogradec, a popular summer tourist destination, was so full of earthquake refugees it felt like summer, with hundreds of earthquake refugees crowding into available hotel rooms. NG provided blankets for people who needed them. It also housed three people in its facilities during that time. The following week, the survivors all went home, to attempt to resume normal existence while living in temporary shelters.

Among the rescuers was Tirana-based NG partner Emergency Response Albania (ERA). ERA is an ambulance service in a country that faces challenges delivering timely emergency medical response to people who need it.  During the days following the earthquake, ERA paramedics helped find survivors in the wreckage, provided emergency care for survivors, and transported them to hospitals. They provided emergency food and supplies, and space heaters for people living in tents.  They went deep into their reserves of medicine and supplies, and their off-road rescue vehicle was damaged during the rescue effort.

NG’s partner Profamilija is working in the Peza area near Tirana. In that area, 250 families suffered damage to their homes, with some houses destroyed and others significantly structurally damaged. Profamilija has been providing humanitarian aid and will be helping with reconstruction in Peza.

In Durrës, our friends at Qendra Nehemia Durres provided food, blankets, and shelter to people who lost their homes and are continuing to provide food and psychological assistance to the many people who have come back but have no homes.

Your donation was used for the humanitarian support provided by NG Albania, ERA, Profamilija, and Qendra Nehemia Durrës to survivors of the earthquake.

Moving forward, Nehemiah Gateway Albania will help earthquake survivors in rural villages. These villagers were already  living on the margins of Albanian society when the earthquake destroyed their homes. Many of them are now wintering in tents, because they can’t leave their livestock.  Donations will help villagers fix their homes, to keep the winter out and stay safe and warm. With government response focusing on urban areas, this is a tremendous unmet need.

You can help here.

With gratitude,

Sarah Pita

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Organization Information

Nehemiah Gateway USA

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Sarah Pita
Boulder, CO United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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