November 26 marks one year since an earthquake struck Albania. The United States stands in solidarity with the Albanian people as you mark this solemn anniversary. Throughout the past year, Albania has shown tremendous resilience, not only rebuilding, but in coping with a global pandemic. The United States has been with you every step of the way, and we will continue to do so.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, American officials and experts assisted with the search and rescue efforts and assessed structural integrity of homes and businesses in affected areas. Then, in response to the great humanitarian need, USAID worked with the Albanian Red Cross to distribute emergency supplies and UNICEF to provide psychosocial support services to children who suffered losses and displacement.
In the months that followed, the United States stood with you as you looked to the future. To strengthen Albania’s ability to respond to future disasters, the United States European Command (EUCOM) helped replenish depleted stocks and provided critical disaster equipment. USAID provided funding to the Albanian Red Cross to establish an Emergency Operations Center that streamlines crisis response and coordination. In recognition of Albania’s unique historical heritage, we provided a grant to restore and conserve damaged cultural sites in the city of Durres, the town of Kruje, and the village of Preze. To ensure accountability to the Albanian people, we announced in February the establishment of the U.S.-Albanian Transparency Academy to provide technical assistance in transparent governance, citizen-responsive governance, anti-corruption training, and judicial reform. The Academy will soon begin its important work here in Albania.
Today is also American Thanksgiving, a day to reflect on the things for which we are grateful. All of us at the American Embassy are grateful for the friendship between our two nations and the many bridges between our two peoples. Together, we will continue to rebuild Albania, remain resilient in the face of adversity, and move forward toward a safer, more prosperous future. Albania is in our thoughts today.