Three years after the tragic earthquake of November 2019, the city of Durrës continues to remain an open construction site. In April 2021, the mayor Emiriana Sako promised that the buildings damaged by the earthquake would be reinforced within 6 months. However, Faktoje verification and the confirmation of the municipality of Durrës show that out of 103 damaged buildings, only 9 are reinforced, 8 are in the process, while funds for 43 buildings have not yet been allocated from the state budget.

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“The contract for these objects is 6 months. We expect the works to be completed in a shorter period. We have about 103 buildings in Durres for which this process will be carried out”, declared the mayor of Durres, Emiriana Sako in April last year.

In relation to this issue, Faktoje reported in December 2021 that in the coastal city, many buildings damaged to the extent of DS4 were in the same condition, while their residents were waiting for the buildings to be reinforced.

Due to the high interest in the reconstruction process and the fact that many residents have not yet entered the new or reconstructed apartments, we did another verification. On September 19, we addressed a request for information to the Municipality of Durrës, asking about the status of a number of damaged buildings that have not been reinforced.

Request for information sent to the Municipality of Durrës, September 19, 2022

Officially, this institution announces that there are dozens of buildings that are expected to be reinforced, adding that the relevant procedures for starting the reinforcement works will start after the approval of the funds. The municipality emphasizes that the residents of the DS4 buildings are being subsidized with a rental bonus.

“There are 8 DS4 buildings for which the institution of Durrës Municipality has requested funds for the implementation of the reinforcement works, with the approval of which all procedures for the start of the works will begin.

In the meantime, funds have been requested for drafting the reinforcement project for 43 buildings, with the approval of which the public procurement procedures will be developed for the selection of the entity that will draft the reinforcement project. With the approval of the relevant funds and the completion of all the procedures provided for in the law, the reinforcement works will begin. For each contract, the term of the works is determined depending on the respective bill of quantities. The work for their reinforcement will begin with the approval of the relevant funds and with the completion of the procedures for the selection of the relevant subject”, explains the municipality of Durrës.

It further adds: For the reinforcement of the 8 buildings with DS4 damage level for which bills of quantities have been prepared, we have requested funds for the implementation of the reinforcement works in the amount of ALL 852,663,751 without VAT for all of the 8 objects.

In the meantime, we also requested a fund of 111,633,900 ALL, VAT excluded, for the design of projects for the reinforcement of buildings with damage level DS4, namely for 43 DS4 buildings”.

But how many DS4 buildings have been reinforced in Durrës Municipality and how many are in the process of being reinforced after being damaged from the earthquake of November 26, 2019? We are officially informed that only 9 DS4 buildings have been completed so far.

“Currently, there are 81 DS4 buildings, some of which are being reinforced. Others will start to be reinforced after the signing of public works and supervision contracts”, explains the Municipality of Durrës.

Faktoje was on the ground on October 7 to see closely the process of reinforcing the buildings in Durrës. As soon as you enter Durrës, you can clearly see the traces of the earthquake, while the residents seem pessimistic about the completion of the reconstruction process. In the 17th district of the coastal city there were buildings that were being reinforced.

Building in the process of reinforcement in the 17th district

“3 years to fix 5 floors. This is something that could only here happen. Wait, it will be done, they tell us”, says an elderly woman to Faktoje.

Building in the process of reinforcement in district 17, Durrës

The situation was the same even in other neighborhoods of Durrës. Buildings that had not started to be reinforced, or even others that were in the process.

Building in the process of reinforcement in district 12, Durrës

Building in the process of reinforcement in district 10, Durrës

Even in the beach area we saw that there were damaged buildings, while the residents are still waiting after 3 years to go back to their homes.

Damaged building in the beach area, Durrës

Damaged building in the beach area, Durrës

One of the managers of the reinforcement works in district 12 of Durrës said that the work on the reinforcement of the buildings in that area had started since 1 month, while it was expected to be finished after 7 months.

Based on the reply of Durrës Municipality and the verification on the ground, we consider the promise of mayor Emiriana Sako to reinforce the buildings within 6 months as an unkept promise.

“Faktoje”, supported by the National Endowment Democracy (NED), has launched a monitoring project in 10 municipalities of the country, with the aim of verifying the promises given by the mayors.