Ina Allkanjari

The reconstruction process, the main pillar of recovery for citizens who were affected by the earthquake of November 26, has often been accompanied with issues such as: delay of deadlines in regard to individual houses or buildings, education facilities as well as lack of transparency. Since the beginning of this process, Faktoje has followed its progress attentively, by reporting with the aim of encouraging transparency and accountability of the responsible institutions.

In order to give a voice to the citizens affected by the earthquake, Faktoje created the “Fact-Check Too” option. Many citizens have sent their complaints in our newsroom regarding issues of the reconstruction process, which Faktoje is following by addressing them to the respective institutions to help solve the issues.

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The reconstruction process, the main pillar of recovery for citizens who were affected by the earthquake of November 26, has often been accompanied with issues such as: delaying deadlines, in regard to individual houses or buildings, education facilities  as well as lack of transparency. Since the beginning of this process, Faktoje has followed its progress attentively, by reporting with the aim of encouraging transparency and accountability of the responsible institutions.

In order to give a voice to citizens affected by the earthquake, Faktoje created the “Fact-Check Too” option. Many citizens have sent their complaints in our newsroom regarding issues of the reconstruction process, which Faktoje is following by addressing them to the respective institutions to help in solving the issues.

The “Fact-Check Too” option in the official website “faktoje.al”

From an analysis of the received complains, we found that the most common complaints have to do with rent bonuses, issues with reconstruction grants, reassessment requests as well as issues with dual-ownership.

Rent bonus

“I am a citizen from Durrës and I haven’t received my rent bonus for over three months even though my partner was damaged by the earthquake. We have left the house since the earthquake because it was declared inhabitable. Since that day I have received a rent bonus, but it was interrupted in July. I went to the municipality to learn more and they told me that the fund had been approved and that they were waiting on the allocation, but it has been three months and we haven’t received any money. I am being evicted from the house I currently reside in because I don’t have money to pay for it”, writes a citizen from Durrës on 14.10.2021 on “Fact-Check Too”.

Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

One of the most commonly considered issues includes delays with rent bonuses, with several citizens complaining that their rent bonus has been interrupted, thus causing problems and difficulties for these families that have to pay rent but are unable to provide the money.

“My house was declared inhabitable after the earthquake two years ago; government officials also put a sign on the wall of my house which means that it has to be demolished. During all this time the house has not been demolished nor has the reconstruction process begun. We have not received rent money by the state for over three months, they say that the fund has not been approved”, states citizen F. from Marikaj, Vlora, on October 14.

 Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

Reassessment of damages

Another issue is the one related to the assessment or reassessment of damages of the residences of many citizens.

“It has been almost 2 years that I haven’t received any assistance from the state, even though all my documentation is in order. The only response I am given by the municipality is that we have to wait for the earthquake experts from Tirana, but I don’t know for how long they will continue giving me the same answer! We don’t know what to do with them anymore. Perhaps you are our only choice in this state that is obviously robing us”, states for Faktoje citizen G. from Durrës.

Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

There have been plenty of cases in which citizens have had to address the court to find their right.

“My building, no. 146 should not be demolished. The municipality of Tirana made the decision to demolish it based on fictitious expertise. Thus we took the case to the Administrative Court of Tirana. Based on the evidence we have submitted, we hope that the court will come to the conclusion that the expertise based on which the city council made the decision for its demolition is not right and that many important facts have been deliberately distorted,” states for Faktoje Edmon Cata, resident of the “Kombinati” area, Tirana.

Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

Reconstruction grants for residences and businesses

Obtaining reconstruction grants for residences and commercial objects is another issue which has been forwarded by the citizens, who claim to not have had the right information on who to address in order to obtain it.

“I have not received a reconstruction grant for my home, there are cracks in the house but after coming in to check they haven’t said anything. All our neighbors have received grants, but we haven’t. We are old and we have been sick; there is also the pandemic situation. We don’t know anything, we have not been given a response”, Zeliha Sata, resident of “Kombinat” area states.

Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

“I own a paint shop in Vlora, in the same floor in which I reside. Both the house and shop were damaged in the earthquake, but after the earthquake they came and told us that there are cracks and damages, but there is no risk for the building to collapse because the damages are not that critical. Since that day we have not been given any funds, they didn’t help us fix the house nor the shop”, states a citizen from Vora.

Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

Faktoje has continuously reported of delays related to the reconstruction of individual or collective residences, in which homeless families hopefully wait to go back to reality.

Several citizens have expressed their complaints by speaking of the difficulties they have encountered while waiting for their house to be reconstructed.

“I have benefitted from the individual house reconstruction according to the decisions of the City Council of Vora. My house is in the DS5 category and we still live in a tent. After the assessment in the beginning of 2020 I agreed to have my house build by the state. Until today on:  29.10.2021 we have no information regarding the tendering of the individual house reconstruction project and after we complained several times to the municipality of Vora and the co-governance office we have not received any information on when we can proceed with the reconstruction of the house”, writes Selim from Vora.

Screenshot of the complaint received on the “Fact-Check Too” app.

In order to support the families affected by the earthquake of November 26, Faktoje in the framework of its mission to encourage accountability based on the right to information and transparency has forwarded the citizens’ complaints on “Fact-Check Too” to the responsible institutions and is expecting a response from them.

A copy of one of the complaints received through “Fact-Check Too” which was delegated to the respective institutions”  

If you have any complaints or if you are concerned regarding issues related to the reconstruction process, send your complaint on “Fact-Check Too” and Faktoje will see it through to the respective institutions.