On behalf of the people of the United States of America, I want to express my deep sadness at the devastation caused by the wildfires in Albania. Our thoughts are with all Albanians during this difficult time, particularly those whose lives have been affected by the destruction. We are grateful to the military personnel and firefighters for their heroic actions to fight the wildfires and to help prevent further loss of lives and property. I would also like to thank Defense Minister Peleshi, Chief of Defense Begaj, and Director of the National Civil Protection Agency Çako for their efforts leading the response.
I am in the Vlora region today to meet our American team of experts from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance who traveled to Albania to assist with coordination and response efforts. I am grateful for their quick response to the call for assistance. They have already started to address the challenges, working together with our Albanian partners. These united efforts and the cooperation between our countries is what Allies do for one another during times of need. These are the moments when friends and Allies stand together to meet these difficult challenges.
I am also very pleased that previous emergency planning between our countries is helping with these efforts, especially the donations of firefighting equipment from the U.S. European Command in 2019. Firefighting equipment, such as the “Bambi” buckets used by helicopters, is now being used to save lives.
Let me say again, the American people stand with you – and will always stand with you – during difficult times.