International donors pledge 1.1 billion euros for Albania after earthquake

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International donors pledged 1.15 billion euros on Monday to help Albania rebuild after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the Balkan country in later November, killing 51 people.

“This is phenomenal and will fully cover the needs,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters after the donors’ conference hosted by the Commission. The EU itself pledged 400 million euros of the total, she said.

A study by Albania and international agencies said on Feb 5 the country needed 1.08 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to rebuild dwellings for some 17,000 people made homeless by the earthquake and also help tourism, agriculture and business recover.

“What we witnessed today is beyond my wildest imagination and expectations,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama told the news conference. “It is incredibly heartwarming and amazing what we witnessed. It is magic.”

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