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EU to hold donors' meeting for Albania quake reconstruction

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — The European Commission said Saturday that member states have agreed to hold a donors’ conference in January in Albania to help the Balkan country rebuild after an earthquake killed 51 people last month.

The commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen, offered the bloc’s commitment to the “long period of reconstruction." The 6.4-magnitude quake left more than 13,000 people homeless and damaged more than 14,000 buildings. Scores of structural engineers are determining which buildings can still be inhabited.

Albania has asked for international financial assistance for reconstruction that it has pledged to complete by the end of 2020. The government has set aside 13 billion leks ($117 million) for the work.

Also Saturday, prosecutors and police in the hard-hit city of Durres said they had detained nine people on suspicion of illegal construction and abuse of office. Poor construction is believed to be the reason why collapsing buildings killed 23 people in the city.

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