Gerdec - Hell on Earth
GRDEC HELL ON EARTH
15 March 2008 Gerdec, Albania
Twenty six people were killed and more than 300 were injured when huge explosions completely destroyed site for decommissioning of expired ammunition near village of Gerdec 20 km north of Tirana.
Blasts were heard also in Kosova, Macedonia and Greece. More than 4,000 people were evacuated and 2,500 houses have been destroyed. Total cost of the material damage is estimated to be USD 400 Million.
In 2006 Albanian Ministry of Defense contracted USA based private company SACI to start decommission of artillery shells, remaining of some 100 tons of expired ammunition. Repacking and dismantling of ammunition at the dump was carried out by the local subcontractor of SACI Alb-Demil.
Causes of explosion are credited to the fundamental error in design of the machinery used.
Inhabitants of areas affected by explosion staged protests and blocked Tirana- Durres highway demanding resignation of the minister of MOD. Subsequently Mr. Fatmir Mediu, Minister of Defense resigned while several people have been arrested including the executive director of the Alb-Demil, sub-contractor of SACI.
When depot exploded villagers described it as the "hell on earth".