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Crisis in the Balkans - Sitrep Report No. 59

03-09-1999 Operational Update

 Joint Federation / ICRC Situation Report  

 RED CROSS & RED CRESCENT INFORMATION  

 This report is now published monthly as a general update on Red Cross Red Crescent activities after the Balkans crisis, primarily for the Movement's components and supporters.  

 LATEST EVENTS  

The latest UNHCR figure for cumulative returns to Kosovo is 772,300, including 47,500 returns by air from third countries via Skopje and Pristina as well as 6,800 spontaneous returns through Albania. Around 43,200 refugees and displaced people remain in the region, UNHCR says, including 7,700 in Montenegro, 6,500 in Albania, 10,190 in Bosnia-Herzegovina and 18,800 in the Former Yug oslav Republic of Macedonia.

Reports of attacks on Serbs in Kosovo decreased for the first time last week, KFOR officials report in Pristina, despite several incidents of abductions and intimidation. The drop could be attributed to KFOR's success in establishing a more secure environment. It also reflects a diminishing Serb population to target.

An estimated total of nearly 160,000 Serb and Roma people who fled their homes in Kosovo have now arrived in FRY, according to figures from the Yugoslav Red Cross and local municipal authorities. Of the 23,500 Serbs and Roma who are in Montenegro, 431 arrived last week, according to UNHCR. They include 282 Roma people who came from an encampment beside a cemetery in Kosovo's western town of Djakovica, which is now empty. Of these arrivals, 240 requested accommodation at Konik camp. Up to 800 Roma people had gathered at the cemetery in Djakovica over the past two months following attacks by returning ethnic Albanians on their homes. At Podgorica more than 1,600 Roma people are in tents and 331 in a barracks. Some 2,000 to 3,000 are in private accommodation.

In Macedonia, 705 Roma and 10 Serbs from Kosovo arrived last week, according to UNHCR. Most of them came from Kosovo's Gnjilane area in the east.

The British foreign secretary, Robin Cooke, has had talks with the Kosovo Liberation Army commander Hashim Thaci in London to discuss the territory's future. Cooke said the UK would turn over all the evidence of alleged atrocities its forces had discovered to the relevant war crimes prosecutors.

Two Australian aid workers, who were jailed for spying in FRY, have been released.

 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia  

 Overview : Throughout August, internally displaced people continued to trickle into Serbia. The latest figure for registered IDPs in the republic is 156,184. The Red Cross Joint Field Offices give a breakdown as follows:

Belgrade 73,211

Nis 32,628

Kraljevo 42,459

Novi Sad 7,886

The ICRC is presently working in Serbia and Montenegro with 21 delegates, 118 national staff under contract and 75 daily workers, and the Federation with seven delegates and 44 national staff. A representative of the Japanese Red Cross, the first PNS to actually start operating in FRY, has joined the team in August.

With the assistance operations in full swing, the issue of greatest concern is the approaching winter. Preparations are being made to respond to the situation in which IDPs and refugees, as well as the resident population, will face severe electricity, water and heating shortages.

 Relief : The programme of supplying food to internally displaced people in Serbia involved 140,696 beneficiaries in August. The aid consists of a 10kg parcel and another 10kg of wheat flour per person per month, and totals 2,814 MT a month. However, some of the nine regional warehouses have been unable to take in any more goods (Belgrade and Nis in particular), and actual implementation was reduced.

In Montenegro, the distribution figure for August was set at 46,000 beneficiaries -- 8,000 of whom arrived before March, 14,000 between March and June and 24,000 are newly arrived IDPs.

Deliveries of food items for public k itchens have been completed for August. At the moment, there are 52 public kitchens serving hot meals for 21,830 beneficiaries from about 200 distribution points. This represents good progress to reaching the planned number of 55,000 hot meal beneficiaries. The second form of the public kitchen programme, dry rations, met the August target figure of 45,000 beneficiaries. Every effort is being made to increase the percentage of the recipients of cooked meals. The cost of the public kitchen programme in the month under consideration has been 1.77m CHF. 

In Montenegro, distributions to nine collective centres in the now north supply weekly totals of 3 MT of fresh food, 3,000 litres of milk and a quantity of fresh fruit to 1,108 beneficiaries of the kitchens in the centres.

44,904 foam mattresses from the Finnish Red Cross arrived in August and are presently being distributed to the flooded regions in Serbia.

8,100 baby parcels and baby baths, a donation from the British Red Cross, arrived in the country. 3,036 parcels and 5,001 baby baths were distributed in August. 281 baby baths will be sent to Pristina.

780 cleaning kits for collective centres arrived and are presently being distributed.

Out of a total of 143,750 hygiene parcels 38,420 were distributed in August.

The identification of the institutions in most urgent need of new glass has been completed in the areas covered by the Novi Sad and Nis Joint Field Offices: seven institutions have been singled out in the first and 14 in the second region. A local contractor has been engaged and the work should be completed in September.

For winterisation, the purchase of jackets, pullovers and winter shoes for a targeted 60,000 families (240,000 people) has started. Half of the quantities will have been bought on the local marke t while the rest will be donations in kind from national societies. Within the winter programme 10,000 cooking/heating stoves will be purchased locally.

A survey of winter needs in Montenegro started in mid-August. It is feared, however, that winter will bring about an increase in IDPs -- both Kosovo Albanians who have returned to their places of origin but may find it impossible to repair their homes before the cold sets in, and Serb IDPs presently accommodated in Serbia in search of a milder climate.

The ICRC in Belgrade processed more than 8,685 MT of relief in August. 225 truck trips were made to transport 3,400 MT of relief supplies to regional warehouses, while in the same period 254 truck trips brought 5,285 MT (mostly food) into the country. An average of 15 trucks per day were on the road with relief goods. In the last week of August, there were 90 trucks sent out from and 95 trucks arriving back in the Belgrade warehouse.

The ICRC fleet at the moment consists of 55 trucks and 32 land cruisers, while the Federation is operating with 35 cars, out of which 10 are land cruisers. In August, the Red Cross used up 200,000 litres of fuel for its operations (including the fuel for the water cisterns in Novi Sad).

 Health : The project to ensure an independent water supply system to the hospital in Sremska Kamenica on the Danube's right bank of Novi Sad was completed on 30 August, involving the installation of the main pumping station, transport line, filter station and buster station. In the same Vojvodina town work is underway on finishing a water reservoir begun before the war. That project is expected to be completed by the end of September.

The 12 humanitarian pharmacies which are currently functioning in Serbia have received supplies of drug s for chronic diseases and the Japanese Red Cross representative has joined the Belgrade team to take over the programme.

Five major hospitals (Nis, Kraljevo, Kragujevac, Valjevo and Vranje), as well as the Emergency Centre in Belgrade, received surgical sets and other medical assistance aimed at replenishing the stocks used up in the treatment of war-wounded. Specialised medical institutions assisted in August included the Mother and Child Institute, the Blood Transfusion Institute, the Plastic Surgery Hospital and the Orthopaedic Clinic -- all in Belgrade. Health centres in Smederevska Palanka and Valjevo were provided with medical material, while the one in Bujanovac received wheelchairs and crutches.

The value of the medical assistance provided to hospitals and health centres in Serbia last month totalled 224,000 CHF. In addition to this, 1,800 hygiene parcels were delivered to the psychiatric hospital in Gornja Toponica (Nis).

The first consignment of equipment and material for the Public Health Institute in Novi Sad was delivered in August.

Purchasing of laboratory equipment and material necessary for water quality control in Nis, Leskovac and Lebane (southern Serbia) is in progress.

Preparations are being made for the water quality control assistance programme to include the eight reference public health centres in FRY. This programme will involve laboratory equipment, glassware, disposable material and training.

 Protection : Tracing offices in Serbia and Montenegro continue to be approached by hundreds of people, mostly IDPs from Kosovo.

A total of 2,622 Red Cross messages were collected and 2,038 distributed in Serbia and Montenegro. They concern bot h the civilian population and detainees. In August, 33 family reunions were carried out, most of them involving transfers of medical cases. In addition to this, family visits were facilitated for 54 persons to 22 relatives detained in Croatia and for 11 family members from Croatia to five detainees in Serbia.

 Participating National Society (PNS )The national societies of Belgium, Italy, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, Greece, and Great Britain made assessments for projects in Serbia.

 Kosovo  

 Overview : The head of the United Nations mission in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, has emphasised the importance of involving the population in determining Kosovo's future, saying that until the issue of attacks against minorities is taken more seriously progress cannot be made. Although the violence did level off in some areas during the month, the number of incidents remained worryingly high. Members of minority groups living in both urban and rural areas are being ruthlessly targeted and many people, particularly the elderly, are too terrified to leave their homes. As a result, they do not have access to food and health care.

The problem of providing adequate shelter to guard against the worst of the rapidly approaching winter continued to preoccupy both the population and the international community. According to a survey carried out by UNHCR in July, around 40% of all dwellings in Kosovo were destroyed as a result of the conflict. Reconstruction and winterisation (complete rehabilitation of one or two rooms per house) will therefore take a long time, so people are being encouraged to find alternative accommodation for the winter, either with host families or in community c entres.

 Relief : Throughout the month the ICRC made regular distributions of food and non-food items to needy beneficiaries in the Vucitrn and Suva Reka areas. The short interruption in the pipeline from Skopje, due to customs issues at the Macedonian border with Kosovo, meant that for a time, smaller than usual quantities of food were delivered.

Orders for the ICRC's winter wheat seed programme were placed in the second week of August for delivery and distribution in September. The seeds and fertiliser will be distributed through the organisations CARE, Feed the Children and Action Against Hunger in their FAO-designated areas of responsibility.

Owing to increasing concerns over the issue of shelter for the winter, the ICRC began assessing the need for tents in the most badly damaged areas of the municipalities served by its relief distributions. Tents are being distributed to families in homes classed by the UNHCR as categories 3 and 4, i.e. where it will be possible to rebuild at least one warm room in the house for winter. Deliveries of tents, which sleep up to 10 people and are supplied with 10 blankets, commenced to several villages in the Srbica municipality on 24 August and will continue as further areas are assessed.

ICRC relief distributions in Kosovo, August 1999 

 

 Food (MT)  

 Non-food (MT)  

  Distributions  

 Beneficiaries  

 Week 1  

160

50.8

11

146'750

 Week 2  

519

40.5

23

133'000

 Week 3  

601

0.9

20

132'000

 Week 4  

186

82

9

47'000

 Total  

1'466

174.2

63

458'750

 

 Health : During August the ICRC transferred 38 patients on medical grounds. Medical transfers are carried out for two reasons: either the required treatment is simply not available in Kosovo, or the patients belong to minority groups and the prevailing political situation is such that a safe and secure environment for their long-term medical care cannot be guaranteed. The consent of the patient is, of course, essential before a transfer will be made. Most transfers are carried out between Kosovo (mainly Prizren and Pristina) and Serbia, although many are internal.

The ICRC's well-cleaning teams cleaned and disinfected 480 wells this month, improving access to safe drinking water for over 27,792 beneficiaries. Emergency and ad hoc assistance were provided where necessary. For example, a chlorinator was delivered to the water board in Pec when it was discovered that their machine had malfunctioned, leaving half the town's water supply without chlorine for a week. In Lipljan, the town water supply was assessed at the request of KFOR and a diesel pump and 300 litres of chlorine were provided for maintenance and treatment purposes respectively.

As part of its programme to support the Institute of Public Health (IPH) in Kosovo, water analysis kits were supplied to the IPH branches in Pec, Prizren, Mitrovica, Djakovica, Pristina and Gnilane. Based on a detailed survey of the branches'equipment and training requirements the ICRC compiled a three-month plan of action to train staff in water sampling techniques and basic chemical analysis.

 Protection : The ICRC has now established guidelines on its protection activities in the Kosovo context. They include eligibility cri teria for family reunification, i.e. applicants must be elderly (over 60 years of age) or unaccompanied minors (under 18) who are unable to travel without the ICRC's help, as well as procedures for receiving and processing tracing requests. These guidelines will be constantly reviewed and updated as the situation develops.

The focus of interest continued to be those detained in Serbian prisons. Demonstrations took place regularly in most of Kosovo's main towns. The largest was held in Pristina on 27 August, when over 500 people marched peacefully through the streets, holding up photos of their loved ones and waving banners asking " Where are they now? " and " What has happened to our brothers? " The marchers gathered around the ICRC delegation and were addressed by the protection coordinator, who explained what had been done so far for the detainees. A second round of complete visits to Kosovo Albanian detainees held in Serbian prisons is due to start in the second week of September.

Now that more and more people are managing to make contact with their relatives themselves, demand for the ICRC's mobile satellite phone service is decreasing. Consequently, the service has been discontinued in main towns and villages. It remains a vital link, however, for vulnerable individuals and members of minority groups living in small or isolated villages.

ICRC mobile unit activities in Kosovo, August 1999

 

 Villages visited  

 Successful calls  

 Unsuccessful calls  

 Messages  

 Alleged arrests/abductions  

 Week 1  

50

3'500

3'000

715

127

 Week 2  

50

7'550

1'982

725

80

 Week 3  

60

3'228

1'612

424

58

 Week 4  

50

3'515

1'644

267

45

 Total  

210

17'793

8'238

2'131

310 

Training of mine awareness field officers began on 16 August and lasted one week. The first three days of the course, carried out jointly by the ICRC and the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), dealt with subjects such as the type of information which needs to be given to and received from the community, mine recognition and treatment, how to work with the community to develop a safer environment and behaviour modification. Twelve mine awareness officers were trained for the ICRC, to be based in each of the main towns in Kosovo. The officers, working in teams of two, travel to mine-affected areas where they discuss the mine and UXO problems with local representatives.

 Operating National Society (ONS) : Two detailed assessments of the local Red Cross structures in Kosovo have now been completed and 15 branches have been selected to receive institutional support under the Federation's branch support programme. This will include rehabilitation of premises, provision of equipment and materials, funding of a limited number of salaries and training of staff and volunteers.

 Participating National Society (PNS)  

 Austrian Red Cross  

The Austrian Red Cross is implementing a bilateral project to provide integrated support to 26 villages in and around Istok, in north-eastern Kosovo. The project involves distribution of food, non-food aid and seeds, as well as shelter and construction material and agricultural tools. The team has made a detailed assessment of the buildings requiring reconstruction and distribution of shelter material was due to start 1 September. The aim of this part of the project is to provide materials for 50 families per day to enable them to winterise one or two rooms in the house. In total, 1,194 houses will be winterised.

 Belgian Red Cross  

Under its bilateral project the French section of the Belgian Red Cross is reconstructing buildings in Vranic, a badly damaged village in the Suva Reka area. Some 320 houses are being winterised, and five ambulantas and three schools will be rehabilitated. So far, work has been completed in 20 houses and electricity has been installed in 184.

 British Red Cross  

A total of 54 schools have been targeted for rehabilitation under the British Red Cross delegated project. Following the initial assessment carried out in July, 23 schools were identified as being in need of immediate assistance and work has started on 17 of them. A programme to provide the schools with student and teacher kits is being developed and distribution will start soon. Towards the end of the month, local staff and delegates involved in the project received mine awareness and dissemination training from the ICRC.

 Danish Red Cross  

The Danish Red Cross is running a bilateral project to reconstruct buildings and provide shelter in the Mitrovica area. The initial phase of the project foresees the rehabilitation of approximately 300 private houses, 75 shelter homes, two health clinics and two schools. To date, 10 villages, comprising 1,661 houses have been assessed. Work has already started in the village of Cak Mahalla, which lies halfway between Mitrovica and Pristina. Over half the necessary materials have been delivered for reconstruction of 42 houses in the village.

 Finnish Red Cross  

The two health-care projects delegated to the Finnish Red Cross are progressing well. In the health house in Viti, work has commenced on the water distribution network and heating system. Basic medical materials and instruments have been handed over and three refrigerators have been procured for vaccine storage. At Gnilane hospital, the full Finnish Red Cross management team is now in place and emergency response unit materials have been transferred to the hospital from Pristina.

 French Red Cross  

As part of their programme to provide integrated support to 16 villages in northern Kosovo, the French Red Cross has identified some 740 houses, two dispensaries, one health centre and 10 school buildings for rehabilitation. Two local suppliers have been identified and distributions of materials for winterisation have been made in Rudnik and Klina communes. The second phase of the programme concerns rehabilitation of unoccupied public buildings for use by people who do not have any other shelter for the winter.

 German Red Cross  

In Pec, the German Red Cross public kitchen is now running to full capacity, providing daily hot meals for 8,000 needy beneficiaries. Three extra cooking units arrived at the end of August, which should increase capacity to 10,000 meals a day.

 Japanese Red Cross  

Of the ten ambulantas earmarked for rehabilitation under this delegated project eight have now reopened. Emergency repairs to small ambulantas have started and medicines have been supplied.

 Netherlands Red Cross  

Following a survey of the need for public kitchens in south-eastern Kosovo (Viti, Gnilane, Kamenica, Novo Brdo) the Netherlands Red Cross team leader arrived on 19 August to begin preparations for implementing a delegated project to provide daily hot meals for 3,200 beneficiaries.

 Norwegian Red Cross  

In the Stimlje institute the Norwegian Red Cross (NRC) team has been checking inventories of pharmaceuticals and food stores. The ICRC construction department surveyed the building and checked against original architectural plans. The team is also being supported by the Danish Red Cross (technical help), MDM France (two doctors a week assessing children), Action against Hunger (nutritional programme for children) and Doctors of the World (medical supplies). Under the NRC's delegated project to rehabilitate agricultural workshops, six sites have been identified and information has been collected on the catchment area of each workshop.

 Swiss Red Cross  

A detailed assessment has been completed of 100 houses requiring reconstruction in three vill ages near Pec and Decane. Building work began on 30 August and should be complete by mid-November.

 United Arab Emirates Red Crescent  

The following quantities of relief assistance were distributed to over 27,000 beneficiaries in Djakovica between 10 July and 18 August: 3,500 schoolbags to children, 200 blankets, 300 MT of food (oil, sugar, fish, cheese, rice, flour, biscuits, corned beef) and non-food (shoes, pampers, sanitary towels, soap, toothpaste). A house rehabilitation programme is also underway, with six houses currently identified -- four in Djakovica and two in Pec. An estimated 50 houses will be rehabilitated in total.

The following national societies have carried out assessments and submitted proposals for projects: American Red Cross (rehabilitation of water supply in Viti, public kitchens in Mitrovica and Vucitrn), German Red Cross (water and sanitation projects in Pec, Stimlje and Malisevo), Spanish Red Cross (school repair in Pec/Istok, integrated support in Pec).

In addition, the Red Crescent Societies of Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been making ad hoc relief distributions, providing relief items to the local Red Cross and supplying ad hoc medical assistance respectively.

 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  

    

 Overview : Macedonian Red Cross (MRC) branches are consolidating after the refugee crisis and looking for smaller warehouses. The focus of the work is clearly shifting toward the social case programme, to which major donors are committed until the end of the year. The media have started to focus on the build-up to the presidential election on 31 October.

 Relief : The August distributions to refugees and social cases are still ongoing. Refugee distributions will end in the coming few days and social case distributions will carry on for another week. So far, 673 hygiene parcels for refugees and 25,180 hygiene parcels for social cases have been dispatched from the central warehouse. One reason that August distributions were delayed was that wheat flour from one of the main donors was contaminated by insects.

In the latter part of the month 22 trailers of hygiene parcels were received from Albania. The incoming goods are placed in a warehouse which has been set aside for reception. So far incoming goods have come from Albania and Greece. This month 45,194 mattresses and 16,106 food parcels came in through Greece. Also, six containers of Kuwaiti Red Crescent commodities were received.

During August, the following ICRC relief goods were dispatched to Kosovo: 20,304 5kg food parcels, 87,966 10kg food parcels, 979 MT of wheat flour, 14 sleeping bags, 10,380 blankets and 503 tents. Also, 7,920 high protein biscuits, 2,016 tents and 17,910 blankets were sent to Turkey for use in earthquake relief operations.

 Protection : Since the beginning of the crisis, the ICRC tracing agency has registered 1,953 vulnerable people, including 916 for unaccompanied children. Cumulative figures through 2 September are: 934 family reunion requests opened, among which 254 are for unaccompanied children; 865 family reunion requests were closed, among which 216 were due to family reunion. The ICRC has done 300 family reunions, among which 132 were between unaccompanied children and their families. An additional 379 family reunions have been done, but without any family reunion request opened. For the week endi ng 2 September, the ICRC tracing offices have received 213 visitors and made 274 phone calls. There were 45 Red Cross messages received for distribution and 21 distributed. Six messages were sent back to sender, and 18 were sent for distribution.

 Participating National Society :

 American Red Cross  

The American Red Cross (ARC) runs a health promotion programme. They also support the social case programme under which 12,400 families in south-western Macedonia are assisted. The ARC is ending its support for refugee camps, and at the end of August their contracts for all warehouses but two ended. The ARC plans to start institutional development assistance to the MRC during September. The ARC presently has five delegates in Macedonia, and plans to add another three in the coming months.

 Finnish Red Cross  

The Finnish Red Cross (FRC) is providing transportation services for Red Cross staff in Macedonia. Finnish drivers are assigned to two Federation field delegates. Two trucks with FRC relief items were sent to Turkey. An additional three FRC vehicles were sent from Macedonia to support Federation operations in Turkey. FRC trucks with humanitarian aid drive three times a week from Skopje to Pristina for the ICRC. Also, the FRC is providing a vehicle for ICRC tracing, operating the Tetovo-Cegrane route. Four FRC vehicles and two drivers are in Kosovo supporting FRC programmes there. The President of the Finnish Red Cross, Kalevi Akivisto, and the head of its international department, Kalle Loovi, visited Macedonia and Kosovo during the latter part of August.

 German Red Cross  

The German Red Cross (GRC) has financed children’s summer camps in Dojran, Struga and Pretor. The GRC also finances the Roma refugee camp of Dare Bombol. The society supports the social case programme, providing help for approximately 7,000 families in the cities of Kumanovo, Radovish and Sveti Nikole. In a separate social case programme, the GRC provides 10,000 people in Gostivar with 140 MT of flour monthly. The programme will run until the end of September. The GRC distributed humanitarian aid to a centre for abandoned children in Skopje and also provided help for a children's hospital in Skopje in the form of beds, medical equipment and sanitation materials. The clinic for mentally disturbed people in the city of Demir Kapija was provided with beds, sheets and hygiene parcels. The GRC donated five vehicles to the Macedonian Red Cross. The German Red Cross branch of Baden-Wurttemberg gave two trucks with clothes, toys and hygiene parcels to the MRC.

 French Red Cross  

1Food distributions to 6,500 families in the social case programme continue under the monitoring of a French Red Cross (FRC) delegate. The FRC also has a logistics support base for its Kosovo house rehabilitation programme, in Skenderaj, south-west of Mitrovica. The FRC plans to rehabilitate 739 houses, concentrating on repairing roofs and restoring at least one room per house. They also distribute construction material to those families who are willing to house other Kosovo refugees without shelter for the winter.

 Spanish Red Cross  

The Spanish Red Cross (SRC) has provided financial help for the MRC summer camp for children in Pretor to renovate the roof and the fence. The SRC is also planning a dental hygiene programme for first grade students. 

 Albania  

 Overview : As the number of Kosovo refugees continued to decrease during August, the focus in Albania has been on rehabilitation and recovery from the effects of the refugee crisis. The Government's Emergency Management Group (EMG), which is seeking to coordinate the various rehabilitation projects throughout Albania, has said that donors have pledged a total of 70m USD for rehabilitation in Albania. By mid-August, information on 362 rehabilitation projects had been lodged with the EMG, with a value of nearly 42m USD.

The Federation estimates there are 5,900 Kosovo refugees remaining in Albania, and 900 host families -- a total of 6,800 beneficiaries. The Red Cross continues to be the agency responsible for distributing relief supplies to refugees in host families, who make up nearly all the remaining refugees.

There has been speculation that some people may return to Albania before winter, given the slow progress in the reconstruction programme in Kosovo and the ethnic tensions there. UNHCR has arranged winterized collective shelters for 10,000 people as a contingency. The sites are centralised in Tirana and Durres districts, and plans include stockpiling of food and non-food items, bedding and heaters.

The NATO successor force to AFOR arrives in Albania in September, providing logistical support to the KFOR force in Kosovo and maintaining the supply line between Durres and the Kosovo border. The force will be made up of 2,500 mainly Italian troops. At the height of the Kosovo refugee crisis, AFOR comprised 8,300 troops.

 Relief : Red Cross relief activity is focused on providing relief supplies to the Kosovo refugees remaining in host families, and on implementing a social assistance programme to vulner able Albanians. In total, it is expected the social assistance programme will now reach up to 90,000 beneficiaries.

The Spanish Red Cross plans to undertake relief distributions to 10,000 socially vulnerable people in the Tirana district for six months beginning October. The American Red Cross relief programme targeting vulnerable elderly began in late August and, in total, will aid 30,000 beneficiaries over 12 months. It will use Federation food parcels for the first three months. The Albanian Red Cross/Federation distributions to socially vulnerable for three months is also continuing, as is the Albanian Red Cross/Swiss Red Cross distribution to 3,600 beneficiaries in the south.

During August, 9,797 refugees, 1,224 host families, 1,404 war-affected people (Kukes district only) and 23,310 social cases received relief supplies. This included 42,019 French Red Cross food parcels, 10,963 Swedish Red Cross food parcels, 13,385 packs of flour, 3,602 ECHO individual hygiene parcels, and 1,779 ECHO family hygiene parcels. In total, 383 MT of food parcels and 107 MT of flour were distributed.

Of the five regional offices established during the refugee crisis, the Elbasan and Durres offices have been closed, the Tirana office is being streamlined and the Shkoder office is to close on September 10. The Kukes office remains open with one delegate.

The Federation is in the process of procuring a new warehouse, vehicles and equipment for the Albanian Red Cross. During August the Albanian government advised that international organisations will once again be required to declare goods before they come into the country, involving delays of up to 15 days. To date, however, the maximum delay has been four days.

The last 30,500 ECHO hygiene parcels have been delivered by the Vasto-Durres ferry. The ferry will continue operations, carry ing goods in transit to Macedonia.

 Health : An assessment of food, medical, nursing and recreational needs of social institutions has been carried out and is being followed by donations of supplies to these institutions. All the largest hospitals in Albania have been given medicines and other supplies, and similar donations to secondary hospitals are being prepared.

A number of national societies are also active in the health field. The French Red Cross this week begins a rehabilitation of the Elbasan psychiatric hospital, the biggest of its kind in Albania; the German Red Cross plans to rehabilitate Kukes hospital and the children’s ward of Korce hospital; the Belgian Red Cross is to rehabilitate the infectious diseases ward of Durres hospital; and the Swiss Red Cross will continue to support the Fier hospital maternity ward.

A Red Cross health workshop is being held to review health aspects of the Kosovo refugee crisis, to give an outline of future health activities in Albania, and to look at a range of health intervention practices in disasters.

 Protection : The ICRC has continued visits to prisons and detention centres, the follow-up and closing of existing tracing requests and family reunion cases, and the development of a mine awareness programme for Albanians living in areas contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance.

Tracing statistics since April 1999 are as follows:

Tracing requests:

Opened 710

Closed 684 (519 after enquirer left for Kosovo)

Pending 26

Family reunions:

Opened 437

Closed 429 (308 after enquirer left for Kosovo)

Pending 8

Medevac:

Opened 62

Closed 62 (41 after enquirer left for Kosovo, denied by third country, or care found in Albania)

Embassies:

40 cases pending (13 Germany, 7 Switzerland, 6 Austria, 4 Sweden, 3 UK, 2 Norway, 2 Italy, 2 Netherlands, 1 Denmark)

 Operating National Society (ONS) : The Albanian Red Cross continues to take a lead role in all aspects of the relief operations throughout Albania. Initial preparation for the 2000/2001 appeal is also underway.

 Participating National Society (PNS) :The following is a summary of PNS activity in Albania.

 Belgian Red Cross (francophone)  

*Management of Katund i Ri Camp at Durres, with about 23 refugees remaining.

*Dispensary and psycho-social centre for Kosovo refugees, Durres.

*Rehabilitation of the infectious diseases ward of Durres Hospital.

*Assisting Albanian Red Cross in three Durres-based programmes involving street children, a soup kitchen, and first aid training for schools and local enterprises.

 French Red Cross  

*Rehabilitation of the Elbasan psychiatric hospital.

 German Red Cross  

*Health assistance programme for 14 hospitals.

*Rehabilitation of Kukes hospital and provision of support for nursing staff.

*Rehabilitation of the children’s ward of the Korce hospital by Bavarian Red Cross.

*Development of Alban ian Red Cross branches at Fier and Kukes.

 Spanish Red Cross  

*Relief assistance for 10,000 vulnerable people for six months in Tirana District.

*Oral hygiene education in several districts.

*Development assistance to Albanian Red Cross branch at Tepelene.

*Planned medical and infrastructural support, Durres.

*Equipment for disabled children in Tirana, Korce and Berat.

*Sewing/embroidery courses in Tirana, Korce and Berat.

*Training workshop for youth leaders in Tirana.

*Equipment for two old people’s homes in Tirana and Fier.

 Swiss Red Cross  

*Relief assistance to remaining Kosovo refugees and 3,600 socially vulnerable in the south for three months

*Fier soup kitchen.

*Continue to support the maternity ward at Fier hospital.

 American Red Cross  

*Relief assistance for 30,000 vulnerable elderly people for 12 months in eight districts.

*Capacity building assistance for Albanian Red Cross.

The Saudi and United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Societies and the Italian Red Cross are also present in Albania.

    

 LG 1999-157-ENG