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Crisis in the Balkans - Situation Report No. 55

27-07-1999 Operational Update

 Joint Federation / ICRC Situation Report  


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


Both Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and UN revised appeals were launched at the beginning of the week.

The massacre   last Friday of 14 Serb farmers outside the village of Malo Gracko has renewed international concern about revenge attacks on non-ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The latest UNHCR report says that throughout Kosovo Serb and Roma communities continue to be the victims of violent acts, including theft, assault, arson, kidnapping and murder.

Meanwhile, UNHCR says total returnees to Kosovo now number 727,000 people. This figure does n ot include an estimated total number of 4500 ethnic Albanians who have moved into Kosovo from Serbia proper.

A UNICEF survey of Kosovo’s primary schools has found that of 394 schools assessed in about half the province’s municipalities 43% are completely destroyed or severely damaged.

KFOR hopes to have Pristina airport fully open early next month.


 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia)  

Overview:   The arrival of Internaly Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Kosovo continued throughout last week. Most of the pressure is still being borne by the southern municipalities, but up to 60 people a day are also filtering through to the area covered by the Belgrade Joint Office further north, bringing the total number of IDPs in central Serbia to over 52,000.

Relief: Several local firms are expected to be engaged by the Red Cross to repair windows and window frames so that this aspect of the rehabilitation programme can be completed by the start of the next school year.

100 tents for temporary accommodation of 350 IDPs have been delivered to the Nis Red Cross for use in Kursumlija. Regular monthly food parcel distributions to IDPs have started in the Nis and Kraljevo regions.

Health: Over the weekend, a medical assessment was carried out among IDPs from Kosovo staying with host families in three southern Serbian municipalities. Their health situation was found to be characterised by acute stress.

650 young Red Cross members (10-12 years of age) are now in summer schools in the Yugoslav Red Cross (YRC) resort s in Baosici and Sutomore. Another youth camp, in Novi Sad, was opened on Saturday and will focus on first aid training, tracing activities and psycho-social support.

Through different activities such as a counselling service, a helpline, psychological workshops, clubs for youth and elderly people and mobile libraries, the Red Cross psycho-social network made 2128 direct contacts with beneficiaries in July. 

Protection: The ICRC tracing agency processed a total of 350 Red Cross messages last

week, including 231 collected in places of detention. At the same time, 104 family messages were delivered to detainees.


Relief: The total of foodstuffs delivered by the ICRC since beginning of June is 2550 MT. More than 15 field trips to minority villages have been carried out, taking a total of 198 MT of food to 193,855 people. A 500 MT-programme for the Mother Teresa Society in Pristina was completed.

Health: The International Federation psycho-social team is making contacts with local and international organisations involved in psycho-social programmes in Kosovo.

Protection: The ICRC opened new tracing offices in Djakova, Gnilane and Mitrovica. Mobile units in Pristina made a total of 4554 calls (of which 3562 were successful) serving 21 locations. Protection teams collected 308 RCM and 67 were distributed. Five children were reunited with their family in Albania and Kosovo.

Operating National Society (ONS): To date 12 local Red Cross structures have been assessed to determine their current capacity and four were found to be fully operational.

 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Montenegro)  

Overview: The number of returnees to Kosovo further decreased compared to the previous week. The one remaining camp in Ulcinj was emptied. The number of IDPs in private houses is estimated to be a few hundred -- mostly people with family connections or their own houses.

The movement of IDPs out of Kosovo has decreased with a total of 249 people arriving during the week, mostly from Pec and Istok. Currently, a total of 1300 IDPs are staying in eight collective centres in Berane, Andrijevica and Plav in the north of the republic.

Relief: A total of 2.8 MT of fresh food was distributed to six collective centres in Andrijevica and Berane, and the Red Cross supervised the set-up of kitchens in these centres. The Konik camp received 720 hygiene parcels.

Health: The health situation was surveyed in the Roma camp of Konik. It was found that while the medical needs are met by the existing local structures the biggest problem is the water supply.

Protection: Assessment of tracing needs of the newly arrived IDPs was carried out in collective centres in Berane, Andrijevica and Roma camp in Konik near Podgorica. Requests for re-establishing family contact and for family reunions, as well as allegations of arrest, were collected.

In Ulcinj, the telephone lines were open for the last week for IDPs to inform their families about return to Kosovo; 61 such calls were made.

 Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia  

Overview: Macedonia's economy is the worst affected in the region according to an analysis in the European Commission summary of the economic effects of the Kosovo crisis on neighbouring countries. The deterioration in imports and exports due to the Kosovo crisis represents a major threat to economic stability. The crisis will have significant effects on growth and employment. One in three of the country's active population is unemployed and coping with large numbers of refugees put an extra burden on the country's social services and budget.

Meanwhile, the World Bank predicts Macedonia's economy will shrink by 4% this year due to the Kosovo crisis, which blocked investment and trade with major partners abroad. Visiting World Bank President James Wolfensohn pledged that Macedonia would be compensated for its sacrifices during the Kosovo crisis, but urged the country to press on with reforms.


Logistics and Relief Distributions (21-23 July)



 Distributed to refugees:  

 Distributed to social cases:  

Hygiene parcels (IFRC)




Hygiene parcels (American RC)




Hygiene parcels (French RC)




Food parcels (French RC)




Baby parcels (Swedish RC)




Transferred to Skopje warehouse from Tirana were 42,174 kg. wheat flour and 10,476 food parcels.

Food items distributed to refugees through smaller branches of Macedonian Red Cross (MRC): 204 kg sugar, 1200 units of chicken pate, 515 units of blueberry juice, 209 litres cooking oil, 32 kg salt.

Special MRC relief distribution by helicopter to 25 poor families in Mariovo, a very remote area of Prelip: 250 kg sugar, 250 kg rice, 25 hygiene parcels, 1250 kg flour (donated by Bulgarian RC).

ICRC relief for Kosovo from Skopje warehouse


 Received in Skopje  

 Transported to Kosovo  

Food parcels (5 kg each))



Food parcels (10 kg each)



Wheat flour (MT)



Washing powder (kgs)









Health: The UNHCR transfer of over 2300 refugees to the Cegrane camp has temporarily increased activity at the Norwegian Red Cross field hospital. The new refugees are located just in front of the hospital. A significant proportion of the new refugees are young men who apparently do n ot want to return to Kosovo. The dismantling of the hospital is about half complete in preparation for closure at the end of this month. 


Overview: Security continues to be a major concern after an attack last week on an NGO convoy travelling to Kosovo. The Albanian police have now agreed to provide escorts for convoys between Tirana and Morini seven days a week.

A meeting on Tuesday of Albania’s Emergency Management Group was addressing the issue of post-emergency rehabilitation.

A number of NGOs are now leaving Albania or downsizing their operations drastically.

Relief: Over the weekend, a workshop for all relief and logistics expatriate delegates from Albania and Macedonia, selected PNS and the Albanian Red Cross was conducted.

Relief despatch included 4000 Swedish Red Cross food parcels and 3500 hygiene parcels. 

The decision has been made to continue with the planned distribution of bulk food from the first of next month. Distribution will have to be rearranged around the country.

A meeting has been set up with other NGOs intent on establishing a social case programme in Albania in order to avoid duplication.

All Red Cross ferry sailings have stopped.

Health:   The donation of eight ambulances to the Albanian Ministry of Health from the Norwegian Red Cross (via the Albanian Red Cross) took place on 23 July. This week, the assessments of various socially vulnerable groups will begin. On 27 July the Fushe-Kruje dispensary (Japanese Red Cross) was closed.

Donation of medical goods and supplies to Bajram Curri was postponed due to the difficulty in communications with the hospital.


Tracing calls via satellite telephone for ICRC Kukes

 22 July  


 23 July  


 24 July  


 25 July  




















Operating National Society (ONS): The Albanian Red Cross was responsible for organising press coverage for both the handover of the ambulances and the launch of the revised appeal.


Overview: Refugees from FRY, mostly ethnic Albanians from Kosovo and Muslims from Sandzak who fled to Bosnia during the conflict, are leaving daily, but the outflux has not been properly registered yet . According to UNHCR, there are the total of 3098 FRY refugees still accommodated in refugee camps in BiH.

Since the beginning of July there were 59 new arrivals in refugee camps and 1026 departures. During the same period, 1375 Kosovo refugees and 90 others from collective centres and 1459 Kosovo refugees and 86 others from host families have applied for voluntary return to their homes in FRY.

The number of those who returned to their homes in FRY independently is much bigger, but is not registered.

 LG 1999-126-ENG