Torrential rains which hit Albania last week have caused flooding in almost half of the country. The situation is worst in the northern part in the region of Shkodra, where over 12,000 people have been evacuated and over 7,000 houses and buildings have been completely flooded. Families who are supported by SOS Children's Villages in Shkodra have also been affected and so we have provided them with the most needed supplies.
According to local media, the floods were worsened by the opening of three dams on the overflowing river Drin. The head of the Albanian electrical corporation explained that this move was urged because of the high water levels which threatened the safety of the dams. This weekend in Shkodra, the alarming situation caused panic. Most roads remain submerged in water, electricity was cut off and people were only able to move around in small boats. The military and police are engaged in the evacuation process and Albania has requested NATO assistance. Schools and most businesses are closed.
So far, the two largerest districts in the city have been affected the most. One of the two is the fourth district where SOS Children's Villages runs a Family Strengthening Programme. The SOS staff are in constant contact with the families by phone. Until now, at least 33 families have been badly affected. The houses of ten families, some of which have been evacuated and moved to temporary shelters in schools, are up to meter and a half in water, while the rest take refuge on higher floors. SOS staff have reported that the parents have expressed deep concerns about the emotional conditions of their children, most of whom have experienced panic attacks.
According to our staff, items such as food, clothes, blankets and medicines are urgently needed. The Family Strengthening Team has begun supplying these items to our evacuated beneficiaries. Contacts with other NGOs have been made in order to coordinate a larger scale assistance programme and expand the services to more families.