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Summary of activities already implemented by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement in the framework of the Integrated Appeal of April 1999

26-07-1999 Operational Update


(Period covered: April to June 1999)

 The International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement ...

 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia :  


- visited three American prisoners in Yugoslav hands, and two Yugoslav prisoners of war in American hands. All five were released and repatriated before the end of the conflict;

- transferred 166 prisoners to Kosovo who had been held in Serbia, after their release by the FRY to the ICRC on 25 June;

- collected a total of 584 allegations of arrests;

- provided the following services to IDPs in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo: telephone service (20,123 calls) to enable people to re-establish contacts with their relatives; collected 1,319 names of IDPs to be broadcast through local and international radio stations; organized 21 family reunions (to neighbouring countries or third countries); registered unaccompanied minors and elderly people; collected and distributed 83 Red Cross messages.

 Relief and health assistance  


- provided in total some 406 tonnes of bulk food commodities 31,000 food parcels; 9,000 baby parcels; 26,800 blankets; 58,000 candles; 1,675 kitchen sets, 33,000 hygiene parcels; 3,800 mattresses and 12,500 jerrycans. The beneficiaries were 60,000 civilians whose houses had been destroyed in the main towns, as well as 68,000 members of the Serb /Roma population leaving Kosovo over the past two months, seeking refuge within Serbia;

- supported the repair of vital social facilities such as hospitals, health centres and schools to replace broken glass and window frames. Large amounts of plastic sheeting were also supplied to individual houses (243,800 m2) which had been affected by the bombing;

- financed the purchase of a humanitarian boat for the operations of the Vojvodina Red Cross, following the destruction of the bridges in Novi Sad. In Pancevo, financed a weather station to help the local authorities monitor the affects on the population against toxic gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the destruction of the petro-chemical plants;

- undertook projects to help some 90,000 people cut from water supply in Novi Sad get clean water: first dispatched two water trucks as an emergency response and then commissioned 27 water reservoirs, with taps and pipes (12 of them already installed); commissioned two water treatment plants to counter the problem of excess iron and manganese in raw water;

- provided 63 tonnes of diesel fuel to support the logistical operations of the Yugoslav Red Cross and the Federation;

- visited with the Yugoslav Red Cross (YRC) hospitals and health institutions which either had been damaged in the bombing or received large numbers of wounded patients; distributed 24 surgical units 150 dressing sets, 25 suture sets, 5,500 litres of IV-infus ions, bandages and various medicines; distributed to the " Dragisa Misovic " Hospital plastic sheeting and tarpaulins to protect the surviving buildings against rain and wind, as well as a generator;

- continued to provide hygiene parcels to 225,000 refugees from previous conflicts as well as food to 125,000 of them. In summary, beginning 24 March, over 335 MT of bulk food and 50,000 individual parcels of emergency food supplies, as well as 16,700 blankets, 14,000 hygiene parcels and 14,146 jerrycans have been delivered to local branches of the YRC;


- provided emergency assistance to 80,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who had fled to the region from Kosovo. A contingency emergency stock for 40,000 persons enabled the MRC to respond to the immediate needs of the incoming IDPs. 148 MT of bulk food, 58,000 food parcels, 6,000 blankets, 4,000 hygiene parcels, 2,200 mattresses, 5,200 m2 of plastic sheeting and one recovery camp unit to accommodate 500 persons were distributed;

- equipped two tent camps in Rozaje and in Ulcinj and five other collective shelters with mattresses and blankets, water supply, hygiene facilities and waste disposal;

- set up a health system in camps in Rozajeand a medical shuttle for people needing transport to Podgorica hospital;


- distributed relief assistance directly to internally displaced persons in partial coordination with the Kosmet Red Cross with the resumption of RC activities on 24 May. Assisted a total of 209,800 persons, mostly those in the region during the conflict and in remote areas, with some 700 tonnes of food and 53 tonnes of non-food (plastic sheeting, blankets, jerrycans, kitchen sets);

- conducted water and sanitation surveys in several areas, and started a project on cleaning contaminated wells. Started surveys on water and electricity problems in public health institutes.

 Preventive action  

- initiated an assessment of the problem of mines/unexploded ordnance in Kosovo and identified a significant degree of contamination affecting the lives and work of the population as well as of the humanitarian agencies; prepared an information sheet in Albanian and Serbian languages on the situation in Kosovo to help minimise the risk of injury.

 Structural support to the National Society  

- following the outbreak of hostilities, adopted an integrated Movement approach (ICRC, International Federation, Yugoslav Red Cross), and fostered development of four Joint Field Offices throughout Serbia, and one Liaison Office in Montenegro.



- established a system of satellite telephones to allow refugees to inform their families, mainly in Europe and North America, of their safe arrival in Albania. By late June, the system had enabled over 30,000 heads of families to contact family members;

- facilitated the broadcast of 27,000 names of refugees on the BBC, VOA, DW, RFI and Radio Tirana, thereby reassuring the refugees'relatives abroad;

- registered more than 200 separated children from their parents and 140 parents in search of their children, and reunited more than 90 persons;

- issued 554 travel documents in order to allow refugees with visas for a foreign count ry to travel, and helped vulnerable people wishing to be reunited with family members in third countries establish contact with the relevant embassies;

 Relief and health assistance  

- distributed some 800,000 food parcels, 3800 MT of wheat flour, 120 MT of high protein biscuits, 41,000 family hygiene parcels, 55,000 blankets, 7,300 mattresses, 11,400 tarpaulins and other relief items to refugees living with host families -- around 350,000 at the peak of the influx -- and 40,000 host families; 

- set up and ran health posts all over Albania (via PNS); established two basic health clinics at the entry points of Kukes and Shkodra under the International Federation's system of Emergency Response Units (ERU); put in a telecommunications ERU. Other specifically health-related Movement activities have included: measles vaccination, provision of supplies to local Albanian hospitals, donation of ambulances to local health authorities, health education and a mental health programme;

 among other things, provided more than 40 MT of purification chemicals for seven different Albanian water authorities, and psycho-social support.;

- a total of 14 Red Cross/Crescent Participating National Societies provided services in or to refugee camps. These ranged from the distribution of food parcels to field hospitals and full-scale management. Other services included health care, psychological assistance, water/sanitation, field kitchens and specialized care for the elderly and unaccompanied;

- provided logistical support : delivered by ferry from Italy to the port of Durres 14,500 MT of food and other supplies; transported by helicopter, more than 400 MT of cargo (mainly food), 706 passengers and 71 medical evacuees; 35 trucks, 10 trailers and two water-tankers carried food, water and other relief items from the port in Durres to the six regional distribution centres.

 Preventive action  

- produced a poster (500 copies) and leaflets (5, 000 copies) to raise public awareness on unexploded ordnance.

 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  


- established a communication network in seven camps to allow 160,000 refugees to re-establish links with relatives in third countries, facilitate family reunions within the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia -mostly between camps- as well as within Albania;

- received 25,000 refugees and facilitated more than 3,000 telephone calls;

- collected 4,814 Red Cross messages and distributed 5,104;

- established a special tracing website in Skopje and Tetovo to help refugees in the seven camps re-establish family links;

- broadcast a weekly list of newly-traced or registered people on international and local radio stations (BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio France International amongst others);

- opened 1,674 tracing requests for lost children/parents seeking their children, and for vulnerable persons; traced and reunited 300 families;

- debriefed a total of 160 ex-prisoners who arrived in various groups in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on their release from Lipjian prison;

 Relief and Health assistance  

- distributed bulk food (on behalf of WFP) and more than 110,000 mattresses, 130,000 blankets and 176,000 hygiene parcels to 274,000 Kosovo refugees and 21,000 host fami lies they stayed with;

- set up three ERUs: a 65-bed field hospital and a water/sanitation ERU providing it with high-quality water in the Stenkovac-Brazda camp; a 100-bed hospital in the Cegrane camp offering services including internal medicine, surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics and a special ward for infectious diseases.

- closely monitored the situation at the hospital in Tevoto, a town which received a regular influx of refugees, and visited 60 war-wounded on an individual basis;

- distributed water, biscuits and shelter material to refugees stranded in the no-man's-land at the official and unofficial border crossings; distributed the same assistance to the refugees who started to return to Kosovo as of the middle of June.

- provided care to refugees stranded in the no-man's-land between Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, conducted medical evacuations and most importantly, helped speed up the entry procedure for vulnerable and medical persons.

- constituted an emergency stock in Skopje with water emergency items and chlorinating devices to be used in camps, as well as stocks to cover the needs of 20,000 persons over two days in terms of medical, food and non-food items.

- set up a logistics base in Skopje in order to ensure a regular pipeline of individual food parcels, wheat flour, meals ready to eat (MREs) and hygiene parcels towards Kosovo, with a first convoy leaving on 21 June. Over the next ten days 142 MT of food and 2 MT of non-food were trucked into Kosovo.

- carried out regular assessments in the medical facilities set up inside the camps as well as in a variety of small medical posts in order to ensure that refugees received adequate care in all circumstances; provided a total of fifty-three medical kits of various types to small clinics as well as to local branches of the Macedonian Red Cross;

- other PNS ac tivities included: assistance to MRC for distributions in the outlying branches and funding for warehouse space in Skopje and forklift trucks; vehicles for the relief programme; food aid for social cases; support for three summer camps for children; rehabilitation of a refugee camp near Skopje.

 Preventive action  

- translated in Albanian and Serbian 20,000 leaflets on mine awareness on the basis of material that was developed in the aftermath of the wars in Bosnia and Croatia; meanwhile also distributed the leaflets that had been produced by UNICEF;

- organized dissemination sessions for NATO troops based in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, for the CIMIC (civil-military) officers from all five brigades that were going to be posted to Kosovo and senior officers from the French brigade in Kumanovo.

 Structural support to the National Society  

- provided material and financial support to 13 branches of the Red Cross of Macedonia as it saw its activities grow following the influx of refugees requesting assistance. Volunteers distributed water and biscuits on a 24-hour basis at each of the three official border crossings.