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State of natural disaster declared in Albania

Albania, 20/02/2012

Order of Malta provides emergency assistance to isolated communities in heavy snow

A state of natural disaster has been declared by the government of Albania in almost half of the country as severe weather conditions wreak havoc during a period of extreme cold. Entire villages have been cut off from power leaving the housebound without any communication facilities. An increasing number of families are complaining of a lack of food, avalanches have been recorded and there is a danger that roofs could be unable to bear the weight of the snow.

The Albanian relief service of the Order of Malta, Malteser Ndhimon Ne Shqiperi, is donating emergency medicines and antibiotics for communities that are completely cut-off in the remote mountain area of northern Albania. Medicines were transported by helicopter to the local health centre after two tentative delivery attempts failed last Tuesday due to the extreme conditions. Nurses collaborating with the Order of Malta on the ground have been furnished with medicines and are providing medical care in some of the most isolated villages.

Strengthening its work with the Roma community, this month the Order of Malta has increased the number of families it serves with a hot meal every evening to 250 Roma people, half of whom are children.

In addition to providing medical and healthcare support the Order of Malta volunteers have been clearing roads to enable people to access its health centres.

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