Friday, January 8, 2010

Albania asks EU for flood assistance

BRUSSELS, Albania has requested the activation of a European civil assistance program to deal with flooding from heavy rains and melting snow, authorities said.

A state of emergency was declared Saturday in northern Albania, where 2,200 buildings were flooded and hundreds of families evacuated, the European Commission said in a release Friday.

The European Civil Protections Mechanism, which pools the civil assistance capacities of member states, was activated late Thursday, the commission said.

Albania has requested boats and helicopters for evacuations, along with water pumps, power generators, food and medicines for those in evacuation centers.

A team of civil protection and flood assessment experts was expected to arrive in Albania late Friday, the commission said.

The flooding is expected to worsen in the coming days, it said.

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