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Kosovo: Emergency phase of winter operation ends

30-03-2000 News Release 00/11

Tens of thousands of householders, schoolchildren and hospital patients and staff have survived the harsh Balkan winter thanks to the efforts of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Kosovo.

Over a dozen National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have worked alongside the ICRC, which coordinates the Movement's activities in Kosovo, to repair houses, community centres, schools and hospitals in order to help people survive the first winter since the end of a conflict that left large swathes of the province devastated by Serbian forces. The work is complementary to that being done by the international community, led by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

With the emergency phase virtually completed, over 30 hospitals and health-care posts, 130 schools and some 6,000 houses have been repaired. Equipment has been donated to help rebuild a further 3,600 homes.

Geoff Allison, the ICRC's water and habitat coordinator, says that while some people have certainly found this first winter a struggle, the goals for the operation's emergency phase have largely been met. " It is a very good example of what can be achieved when we tap into the vast resources of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. "