(ANSAmed) - TIRANA, FEBRUARY 13 - Following an extraordinary meeting last night, the Albanian government has declared a state of natural disaster in almost half of the country, which has been hit by a wave of poor weather conditions.
"Snowfall and low temperatures will continue over the next few days. So our efforts are aimed at preventing all loss of human life," said the Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, announcing greater use of army forces and equipment.
Four people have so far died in the country as a result of the cold. The latest case was recorded yesterday, when a 45-year old man died of hypothermia after being caught in the snow for more than 30 hours.
The state of natural disaster concerns 5 of Albania's 12 provinces, including the entire north of the country (Shkodra, Kukës and Dibra), the east (Librazhd) and the south-east (Korça). Entire villages have been cut off and are without any communication facilities. An increasing number of families, meanwhile, are complaining of a lack of food, while the weather has often disrupted the intervention of helicopters handing out food and medicine, with many country roads inaccessible. Many areas have seen more than two meters of snow. A number of avalanches have been recorded, and there is a danger that roofs could be unable to bear the weight of the snow, which continued to fall heavily yesterday.(ANSAmed).