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In 2019, Albania experienced a series of earthquakes, including a major one; then, amid reconstruction efforts in 2020, it was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Confronting multiple increasing needs, the government of Albania supported the poor and those affected by disasters and crises, including businesses. To do so, it tapped into its fiscal reserves, reallocated budgets toward urgent priorities, and relied on external assistance. Many of these measures were ad hoc.
In September 2020, jointly with Albania’s Ministry of Finance and Economy, the World Bank completed a diagnostic of disaster risk finance in Albania. This effort sought to identify financing gaps in—and recommend ways to improve—the country’s financial preparedness for disasters.
Disaster risk management is among Albania’s key policy priorities, and the Albanian government carried out a series of reforms shortly before the earthquake: for instance, it enacted a new Law on Civil Protection, streamlined institutional frameworks, decentralized post-disaster functions, and put in place structures for contingency funds at the local and line ministry level.