Archived page: may contain outdated information!

Former Yugoslavia / Eastern Slavonia: family meetings on former front line

22-05-1996 News Release 96/20

There are about 100,000 people living in Serb-held Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium. Since 1991 many of them have lost contact with members of their families living elsewhere in the region. As the guns have now fallen silent, relatives separated by the conflict have been trying to find ways of seeing each other again. A joint ICRC/UNCIVAFF (United Nations Civilian Affairs) project, carried out with support from local Red Cross branches on both sides, has organized 18 family meetings at three check-points along the former front line since last November. Each time, the ICRC took people who were without transport by bus to the meeting points, where up to 100 family members from each side were able to spend some time together.

The ICRC is providing the population of Eastern Slavonia with many other forms of assistance. To help the most vulnerable regain a measure of self-sufficiency, in March the ICRC began an agricultural programme under which 10,000 families received vegetable seed kits, 10 kg of seed potatoes and 20 kg of fertilizer. During the coming weeks sugar, salt and vinegar will also be handed out for making preserves. In addition, the most needy among the population - 12,400 elderly and disabled people, orphans and single-parent families with no income whatsoever - receive food and hygiene articles every month.

The ICRC has also distributed medical materials to most of the health facilities in the area and is helping to maintain water-supply installations serving the entire population.