Father Luigi Cannato, a member of the Congregation of the Mission ministering in Albania, calls upon all the members of the Vincentian Family to collect funds on behalf of the many poor families in Albania who have been afflicted as a result of the recent earthquake.
I write to you on the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. I want to inform you about the present situation that has resulted from the powerful earthquake that rocked this area at 3:55am. Thanks to God, those of us in the north have not been harmed … just an incredible fear made us jump from our beds and startled us for an exceedingly long 30 seconds.
The real problems are in the city of Durres and the town of Thumane, the epicenter of the earthquake. Houses have collapsed and there are many wounded and dead … and the aftershocks are endless.
I went to Fushe Mamurras to visit the Father Mario Murgia and thanks be to God he is well. In that area there have been minor damages: statues fell to the ground, cracks in the walls of the churches, furniture turned over.
Sister Elizabete, DC, and I went to Durres in order to bring the Daughters who resided there to Shkoder. The Daughters live on the fifth floor of a ten-story building which is now uninhabitable. There the situation is horrific: many-buildings have been damaged, the people are being sheltered in a camp that has been set up by the State but things are still very disorganized.
Last night some members of a Swiss community of religious women, Father Ferdinant, Sister Elizabete and I went to Durres for a second time. We were able to offer a little assistance, some blankets from our house in Gruda. We have also expressed our willingness to house two or three families in our house in Gruda. In two different centers we distributed blankets and mattresses (the first center was established by the Sisters of the Precious Blood in Durres and they are receiving a hundred people) … there everything was well-organized.
We also visited the stadium in Durres where a camp for displaced people has been set-up … it looked like a scene from Dante’s hell. There was no organization and chaos reigned. The people cried out for blankets. We also brought provisions to the distribution center that had been established by the army and the civil defense system.
It became clear that the weakest people (the elderly and the disabled) were unable to climb over the fences and thus unable to gain access to help. We intervened in these situations and brought these vulnerable individuals assistance … but there are so many many similar cases.
Thank you and please pray for the people of Albania.
Luigi and the community of the Congregation of the Mission
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
Eastern Province, USA
You can contribute to the relief effort by means of a transfer into the account
Vincentian Missionaries – Italy Banca Nazionale del Lavoro account # IT43 U010 0503 3390 0000 0000 0002 660 please indicate that this is for the earthquake relief efforts.