Sunday, December 12, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

It is known in Albania that the Northern areas of the country are at high risk of flooding during the winter season, particularly the Northern town of Shkodra. Last January there was a large flood in the North that was quite detrimental to the affected areas.

Last week, Albania, as well as a few other small Balkan countries, experienced the worst flood in over a century! The Northern provinces of Albania were completely under water as well as many other areas all around Albania, including: Kor├ža, Librazhd, Fier, and Gjirokastra. Not only are these places heavily populated, but it is quite unusual for these parts of Albania to flood. Many of the roads throughout the country were closed due to the fact that they were under meters of water. In Gjirokastra, however, the roads were not the main problem. In this Southern town, the power plant was under water, resulting in a major power outage.

In Albania there are several large rivers and when it rains throughout the country for multiple days on end, the rivers begin to overflow and flood the surrounding areas. In the case of the Northern part of Albania, Shkodra and Lezhe, there is the Drini (a river) as well as Lake Shkodra that are both quite large and located in flood susceptible areas.

Due to the fact that roads were under water, boats were used as a way to get around the immensely flooded areas in order to help evacuate residents. It was pretty unbelievable how a week of non-stop rain could flood so many uniquely different terrains though out the country of Albania.

Fortunately, many aid groups from around the world have sent supplies and aid workers to Northern Albania, where the most damage was done. What is particularly frightening about this specific flood is the fact that it happened so early in the winter season. The winter months in Albania are characterized by the large amount of rainfall. I hope another large flood is not in Albania's near future as we approach only the middle of winter.

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