Residents of neighborhood 5 in the city of Durrës have not yet entered their homes, even though four years have passed since the tragic earthquake of November 2019. From the verification of Faktoje, it appears that 36 families in this neighborhood have been waiting for months for the drawing of lots for the apartment. They confess that they have 7 months without rent bonus and are forced to pay out of their pocket. In unit 3, only one of the 9 promised buildings has been reconstructed, while the reconstruction has not yet started for the remaining 8. The municipality justifies itself with the lack of funds from the government.
On May 8 of this year, the Mayor of Durrës, Emiriana Sako, repeated the recycled promise for the new housing for the homeless from the earthquake of November 26, 2019:
“In a meeting with the residents of unit no. 3, where we committed to have the DS5 buildings of neighborhood no. 5 rebuilt in the same place” – Mayor Sako wrote on Facebook.
The post shared by the mayor Emiriana Sako
Regarding this commitment of Sako, Faktoje first addressed a request for information to the Municipality of Durrës. Among other things, we asked how many new buildings will be built in neighborhood number 5 and when they are expected to be ready.
Request for information sent to the Municipality of Durrës, September 4, 2023
Officially, the Municipality of Durrës announces that in this neighborhood there are 9 buildings with damage level DS5 and currently only one building has been reconstructed, the one on “Hysen Myshketa” street.
“If the relevant institutions of the central government will not provide funds for this process, the Durrës Municipality will consider completing this process with its own funds starting next year. The reconstruction of these facilities is a process which does not depend only on our institution, but which is carried out and realized in inter-institutional cooperation”, says the official response of the Durrës Municipality.
But when are the residents expected to enter their homes in the only building that has been completed in this neighborhood?
“Currently, in the reconstructed buildings, the accommodation of the residents is expected to be completed by the end of this year”, explains the Municipality.
The situation on the ground?
Faktoje was in Durrës on October 6, to see closely how the reconstruction process had progressed in neighborhood number 5, unit 3. In this area, only one building had been fully built, but no apartments were yet handed over to the resident beneficiaries. Rona is one of them. She raises the concern that they have not even received the rent bonus for 7 months.
“The building was finished 3 months ago, but not handed over to us yet. We are waiting for the Municipality to issue an order. They did not even draw a lot yet on assigining apartments to us. We have another 7 months without receiving the bonus, in October it will be the 7th month that we have not received the bonus.
We asked them why. They tolds us there are no funds, others say we will no longer get any rent bonuss, as we will get our apartments now. There is no solution.
The 4th year is coming and we are still homeless. At least give us the keys so we could go in. No bonus, no other support. There are 36 families waiting to get into that building, but no solution so far. We are waiting day by day for them to invite us for that lottery. We keep hoping they will call us any moment now. We can not afford paying rent, we don’t have big salaries. My children don’t have jobs, my husband does not have a job either. It’s just me, what will I do? Government officials don’t think about that, because their pockets are full”, says the worried resident.
The new apartment block built in Durrës
Alma is another resident of this neighborhood, but the building has not yet started to be rebuilt.
“I’m living on rent and we don’t get a bonus. 7 months passed without one. We have been paying rent out of our pocket, because landlords do not care, they can throw you out if you don’t pay. They don’t care where this people will live.
I am talking about the money that those affected by the earthquake were supposed to get. It is taking 5 years or maybe even 6 years, but it is not our fault, is it? They should have finished building it in 2 years, so we would be living in it by now”, says Alma.
Contrary to what the residents claim, the municipality in its official response confirms that the families of the 9 buildings with damage level DS5 in neighborhood 5 are beneficiaries of the reconstruction process and the rent bonus.
In a series of articles, Faktoje has reported how the reconstruction process has dragged on in Durrës, one of the municipalities most affected by the consequences of the tragic earthquake of November 26, 2019.
“Faktoje”, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), is monitoring 15 municipalities in the country and verifying whether mayors have kept the promises they have made.