Minister Kodheli address at the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Lezha

Honourable Mr. Speaker of Parliament,
Honourable Mayor,
Honourable members of Parliament,
Veterans of the National Liberation War,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour and privilege to be here with you today, at the Anniversary of the Liberation of Lezha, the city of union and covenant, where Albania’s history has left indelible traces in the effort against any invader who has passed on our lands.
In this atmosphere, it is my personal pleasure to address you, also being selected as a representative of the Lezha people, knowing and working with you on good and bad days, but also with the utmost consideration and respect for you, men and women of Lezha with who we have been in good and difficult days.

I do not want to forget, on this day of Lezha Liberation from the Nazi-fascist occupation, the heroic effort of the sons and daughters of this land, their sacrifice for freedom, progress and development. I greet all of you, family members of the martyrs who died for the liberation of Homeland, and you veterans of our great war against the invader.

But today, I’m here for what is specifically happening in Lezha and I would like to focus briefly at the created situation, the permanent floods and measures that the central and local institutions are taking to address them.
I am joyless that two nights ago, three innocent people lost their lives due to flood caused in Lezha area. Expressing sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, I am here to ensure that the Albanian Government, and in particular the Armed Forces have been and will always be in readiness to cope with emergency situations.

The Armed Forces responded first to the Emergency HQs sending troops, equipment and vehicles in the first moments after being informed about the aggravated situation. I assure you that the Armed Forces will be present in the Prefecture of Lezha until the full normalization of the situation. During the day, troops of the Support Command, 10 thousand sand bags, excavators, fire-fighters, diggers, water pumps, and everything else needed to cope with the situation are headed toward the Prefecture of Lezha.
In this context, I would like focus on our efforts for preventive measures, rather than reactive ones; and interagency coordination with local government, the drafting of the National Search and Rescue Plan and facing Emergencies, as well as creating real capacity to deal with these emergencies.

The Strategic Documents adopted or in the process of approval, the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Armed Forces pays particular attention to civil-military cooperation; relations with the community, awareness and assistance to the population in case of natural disasters. In these moments, the emergency HQs are focused on normalizing the situation and in a second moment, we will make the damage assessment caused by the flood.

For 23 years, no one has worked to maintain and improve the infrastructure, not only here in Lezha, but throughout the country. Public property is considered waif, therefore I will not lose time, nor to complain, or accuse anyone. You know better than me and you experience every day the consequences of this negligence raised as a system.
What I want to emphasize is the urgent need for the establishment of permanent structures to cope with emergency situations. In principle, we are advanced, our legislation probably competes with more developed countries, but the reality is bitter. We need to think seriously how we will cope with such annual events.

And here I am asking the community’s help. It is you friends, from where structuring of needs begin, the requirements and the facing of the first phase of the emergency. It is you sisters and brothers of Lezha already having multiyear experience with flooding and you are able to correctly identify solving ways.

I received yesterday afternoon the confirmation from our brothers in Kosovo that they are always ready alongside us in this situation, with all needs and requests we can have. I thanked them on your behalf and I felt even more confident that we will not face these situations alone.

A democratic government begins with its responsible citizens. I expect to hear more strongly and specifically the voice of the community, not only for requests and suggestions, but for long-term solutions. Concluding, let me once again express my respect and gratitude for the men and women who did not hesitated to sacrifice their lives for the liberation of this land and all Albania. We do not forget.

Thank you!



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