“The 2018 budget must be amended by Parliament in order to divert funds into building a system against floods. Parliament must ask the government to draft the necessary project and submit the necessary amendments for 2018 budget”, says the head of Konfindustria, Gjergj Buxhuku. This stance seems to be similar to the warning issued by the World Bank a while ago, suggesting Albanian authorities to allocate special funds for natural disasters and their management. “The World Bank estimates that for every 1 USD invested for the modernization of hydro-meteorological services in Albania, social and economic benefits from reduced losses caused by natural disasters and production, management of water sources and energy would be at least 2 USD or even 4 to 7 USD”, the former head of the World Bank for Albania, Tahseen Sayed is quoted to have said a while ago, appealing that “it is crucial for Albania to improve its national services responsible for providing crucial information which is used to assess weather threats”, now that, according to her, dramatic climate changes and the extreme weather will be the “a normal thing now”.
Bill, Civil Emergencies: Floods, 200 million euros in 6 years
According to the General Department of Civil Emergencies, the financial damage caused by the floods in the recent years in Albania amounts to 200 million euros. In cooperation with the World Bank, this institution has estimated that from 2009, when the floods had a higher intensity, until 2015, this damage amounted to the figure mentioned above. Meanwhile, the annual damage caused by natural disasters including fires or earthquakes, is estimated to be around 35 million euros. The January 2016 floods alone are estimated to have caused financial damages amounting to 9 million euros.
2018 budget, 100 billion lek of provisions for natural disasters
In next year’s budget, the Albanian government has allocated 100 billion lek as provisions for natural disasters. The scope of these funds is to cover any sector at any time. But, at the same time, they may also be used to cope with natural disasters. The same thing also happened with this year’s budget, in which the government decided to intervene in order to counter the effects of the long draught this year, which was reflected in shortages of power supply. This is something that the government does each year to cover unexpected expenses or cope with natural disasters. This time, this intervention was made as a result of the draught.
World Bank: Floods are impoverishing Southeast Europe and causing economic declines
“Countries of Southeast Europe have suffered as a result of being exposed to extreme weather”. This was the finding made in a recent report issued by the World Bank, including Albania. According to this report, after the 2015 floods, the World Bank, UN and EU concluded that these floods caused financial damages and losses amounting to 110 million euros. “We noticed this during the floods of 2014 in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which damaged the livelihood of the people and economic growth”, the World Bank says, adding that two years were needed for economic growth to recover after floods in these countries, including Albania.
Today the government allocates funds for municipalities affected by floods
Today, the Albanian government is expected to allocate an emergency fund to municipalities affected by the floods. This was announced by the minister of Finance and Economy, Arben Ahmetaj, according to whom, these funds will be spent to clean secondary canals. According to him, this will help in overcoming the situation caused by the floods as soon as possible. “To help them cope with the situation of the recent days, all institutions will be allocated an emergency fund tomorrow to be able to clean secondary canals”, he said.