Albania has a total area of 28,748 km2. It shares a border with Montenegro to the northwest, with Kosovo to the northeast, with Macedonia to the north and east, and with Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coastline around 476 km long. Albania is divided into 12 regions (qarks), 36 districts, 375 municipalities and communes, which are the basic units of local self-government.
The four main hazards affecting Albania are forest fires, floods, earthquakes and snowstorms. Among other hazards available assessments make reference to landslides, drought, epidemics, avalanches, tsunami, technological hazards, dam burst and storms.
The national crisis management framework consists of three levels – national, regional and local. At national level, the Council of Ministers leads and governs the national system of civil emergency management in Albania, with the main role played by the General Directorate of Civil Emergencies in the Ministry of Interior.
Prefects in the qarks (regions) are responsible for planning and coping with civil emergencies at qark (regional) level. A Commission of Planning and Responding to Civil Emergencies is established in each qark with the task to coordinate activities of the qark authorities and volunteer organisations for planning and coping with emergency. Accordingly, the mayor or the head of commune is responsible for planning and responding to civil emergencies in the respective municipality or commune (local) level. Under the chairmanship of the mayor or the head of commune, a Commission of Planning and Responding with Civil Emergencies is established, and its main task is to coordinate all activities of the local government unit and volunteer organisations, responsible for planning and responding to emergencies.
The principal operational forces or active structures in Albania are comprised of the Armed Forces; Directorate of Fire Protection and Rescue (PMNZZH); the Ambulance Service; the State Police and other Police units; Directorate of State Reserves; Units specialised in mines and technical response; Monitoring and operational supportive structures.
Earlier data show that in normal times the human resources dedicated to crisis management include the following: app. 450 personnel, including the employed in civil protection at qark level (app. 50) and personnel employed in civil protection at commune or district level. Involvement of private companies and volunteers is limited to app. 500 of active personnel.