On Tuesday, Albania was shook by an earthquake that measured 6.4 on the Richter scale – the worst earthquake in this region in decades. At least 650 people were injured and 42 people have died. The port city of Durrës was hit particularly hard. Aid workers continue to search for survivors in the rubble of the collapsed buildings there.

Denisa’s family and friends are keeping her up to date on the situation in her home town. “Half the city is in ruins. Many of the buildings that didn’t collapse during the quake have been declared uninhabitable,” she says. “A lot of people have become homeless as a result.” The city is regularly hit by aftershocks. “Yesterday, there was another quake that measured 5.3 on the Richter scale,” continues Denisa. “Even Durrës Castle in the old town has been damaged by the quake.”

Removal boxes

You can find ten removal boxes full of clothing, toiletries and blankets lined up in the office of the student association EESA. “We hope these items can help the survivors of the quake in Durrës to get through the winter,” says International Business Administration student Denisa. The two associations have collected all sorts of things that could come in handy: from winter clothing and shoes – both for adults and children – to blankets, toiletries, nappies and sanitary pads. “But the main thing is money, because the logistics company has set a maximum weight for the goods we’ll be sending over.”

Going to Durrës herself

So far, the student associations have collected nearly two thousand euros. “We didn’t expect to raise this much so soon,” says Denisa. “The response was overwhelming – particularly when you consider most of the donations actually come from students.”

The removal boxes will be collected Friday next week by the logistics company Mission & Relief Logistics. Although they will be picked up locally by an NGO, Denisa wants to ensure that the articles end up in the right hands. In mid-December, she will be travelling to Durrës to work as a volunteer for four weeks. “We don’t want to simply hand over the donations to an NGO, because we believe it is important to make sure items end up with the people who really need them,” explains Denisa. “I feel a very strong personal involvement because I grew up there. I feel responsible for ensuring our efforts have a maximum impact.”

The associations will be keeping the donors up to date on developments via social media, says Denisa. “We want to show people – by sharing pictures, for example – that their contributions have made a difference.”

You can donate money via the effort’s GoFundMe page until the end of 10 December. People who want to donate items can drop them off at the offices of EESA (PT-070) or Mozaik (PT-006) in the P Building until the evening of 5 December.