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Natural risks in Albania and the role of related warning systems for the reduction of natural disasters

Mahir Hoti, Sokol Axhemi
Universiteti i Shkodres, Departamenti i Gjeografise, Shkoder, Albania.
Tel. /Fax: +35-5-224-3747

Abstract:
In this paper efforts are made to estimate the most visible effects of some of the natural risks in Albania such as degradation of soil, avalanches, drought fires, etc. The natural conditions in Albania as a Mediterranean country have created a very interesting, sensib1e, morphobioclimatic equilibrium.

The poster presents the processes and phenomena closely connected with the factors which have influenced their development Thus the soil degradation is analysed in thew context of geological environment, relief, climate, vegetable cover, permanent hydrographic network, etc. which have conditioned the large extension forms of the soil degradation, their intensity and diversity. This intensity is due both natural and antropogenic factors.

In Albania the consequences of floods are considerable, especially in the low-land regions. We mention the frequent overflow of the city of Lezha, Berat, due to rapid mountain torrents in steeply inclined river beds. They caused flooding and significant damages, also as the result of the high daily intensity of precipitation, not proper functioning of used barriers and concrete obstacles in the river courses.

Geomorphologic and topographic conditions of the country, especially in mountainous region, are favourable for the development of avalanches. Slopes are often steep and the probability of avalanches is greatest when slopes are dipping with more than 3040 and have Northern and Eastern exposure. Avalanches occur most frequently in the Alps of Albania and central mountain regions. They often cause the destruction of houses and claim human lives. Most dangerous avalanches take place about every 10 years.

A very recent natural risk in Albania are wild fires. They are observed in the forests of Lura, Munella, Martanesh, in the region of Llogara, the hills of Renc, etc. Big fires are closely connected with summer droughts. There are examples of quantitative and qualitative analysis of caused damages and economic losses due to wild fires for the society in general and in rural regions in particularity.

The authors present these phenomena and processes together with their opinion on the role early warning systems could play in order to prevent or mitigate the natural disasters. Suitable preventive counter measure are the compilation of prognostic maps, the construction of flood barriers, afforestation of regions prone by avalanches, etc. Also, the great importance of training courses in Albania with native and foreign scholars and specialists is emphasised.