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Waterbury community comes together to help victims of earthquake in Albania


WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Many of the more than 10,000 Albanian-Americans in the greater Waterbury area are coming together Tuesday to donate clothes and supplies to victims of an earthquake in Albania last week.

Horrifying video: 7 people – all in one family – killed when a house crumbled to the ground in Albania during last week’s earthquake.

Durres, Albania – 26 November 2019 – Home collapses during earthquake – Video: Aris Huqi via Associated Press

Sonja Selenica lives in Waterbury but grew up in Albania. Her mother knew that family.

“It’s really a tragedy. I don’t know how they are coping with, I don’t know how the family will survive,” Selenica said.

In all, more than 50 people died in the earthquake. More than 5,000 people are without shelter, and 12,000 buildings were destroyed.

WEB EXTRA: News 8’s LaSalle Blanks speaks directly with volunteers packing up the donated clothing to be sent to Albania

Waterbury’s Albanian-American community is feeling the pain of the tragedy, and aching to do something to help.

“We are all worried about our family members there. We try to give each other courage and support. But every time there is an aftershock, we are worried and we are scared.”

– Sonja Selenica, Waterbury resident, Albanian-American

Endrat Himij moved to Waterbury two months ago after graduating from college in Albania. He’s worried about his friends and their families.

“They don’t have houses. Most of them are living in cars,” Himij explained.

Over the weekend, members of the Albanian-American Muslim Community Center held a vigil for the earthquake victims and collected enough donated clothes to fill two UHaul Vans.

The donations are already on their way to those in need.

The community here is hoping to send a message to the people in Albania.

“We are trying to show our love and support that, that we care,” said Selenica.

News8’s LaSalle Blanks will have the full story on News 8 at 5:30 p.m.

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