UN Inter-Agency Update on Kosovo Situation Report 51

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 07 Aug 1998
This report has been compiled by UNHCR with support from OCHA and with inputs from UN Agencies and other humanitarian organizations in FRY, FYROM and Albania
1. KOSOVO

1.1 International Aid Convoy Reaches Malisevo. A six-truck convoy left Pristina yesterday morning heading for the villages of Crnovrane and Lapcevo west of Malisevo. No problems were encountered at check points, and relief items were successfully delivered to the warehouses of the Mother Theresa Society (MTS), a local NGO run by Kosovo Albanians, both in Crnovrane and Lapcevo.

(a) Participating Agencies: the convoy carried humanitarian assistance donated by donors through Children's Aid Direct (CAD), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Doctors of the World (DOW), and Mercy Corp International (MCI). Handicap International (HI), OXFAM, WFP and UNHCR also participated to escort the convoy and to assess the situation in the area.

(b) Relief Items Delivered: humanitarian assistance delivered included - 1,000 family food parcels, 1,200 baby food packages, 10 tonnes wheat flour, and cream, milk powder, hygiene sets, clothes, shoes, blankets, rugs, shampoo, baby powder, domestic item boxes, buckets, detergents and toys (teddy bears).

(c) Assessment of Lapcevo and Crnovrane: In Lapcevo, a large number of IDPs was reportedly accommodated in the village itself, where absorption capacity was saturated. 100 to 120 persons were staying in one of the houses alone. Outside the village, in a forest, several hundred IDPs were camping under the open sky. Most of them were women, children and elderly. They had very little food, and were faced with unsatisfactory hygienic conditions and inadequate water supply. UNHCR plans to send water supplies early next week to alleviate this situation. IDPs in forests and hills elsewhere presumably are living under same conditions. This raises fear of epidemics and diseases breaking out in the hot weather.

(d) Media Coverage: the following 14 international media organisations followed the convoy: CNN, BBC TV, Swedish TV, Swedish TV4, APTV, Reuters TV, German TV, Austrian TV, Slovenian TV, Portuguese TV, BBC Radio, Reuters news agency, Kyodo news agency, Dagens Nyheter (Stockholm daily).

1.2 UNICEF Relief Supplies Reach Kosovo. An additional 20 tonnes of UNICEF relief supplies arrived in Pristina on 6 August, as part of a larger consignment - all of which are expected to arrive during August. Distribution will start as soon as feasible in coordination with other UN agencies and international NGOs working in Kosovo.

(a) Relief Items: supplies that arrived in Pristina include - 100 essential pediatric drug kits, 5,000 soap bars, water purification tablets, 20,000 diapers, baby cream, over 5,000 adult and baby blankets, 5,500 jerrycans, 7,900 sanitary napkins.

(b) Clothes to be Procured: UNICEF is finalising local procurement of US$100,000 worth of children's underwear and other clothes for immediate distribution. UNICEF is procuring winter clothing, in anticipation of lower temperatures in Kosovo.

1.3 UNHCR Resettlement Team Visits Srbica. A UNHCR team went to Srbica on 6 August in order to escort 12 refugees to Pristina for resettlement interviews. These persons are Serb refugees from Croatia, displaced from the previous war in the Former Yugoslavia. No problems were encountered at the check points. However, the police at Shipol advised the team to drive as fast as possible to Srbica as the road was unsafe. Indeed, UNHCR's vehicle was the only car on the road to Srbica. In Srbica, the town appeared almost deserted. The team was unfortunately unable to find the refugees they came to transport, as all of them reportedly had left for Kosovska Mitrovica. Only 14 persons were confirmed as remaining in the collective centre in Srbica.

1.4 Houses Still Ablaze in Orahovac. Another UNHCR team that went to Orahovac on 6 August noted that fires were still burning in empty houses and fields in the Malisevo area. On the way, the police were seen loading a truck with bricks from a load of factory-fresh bricks that had been left abandoned by the roadside.

1.5 Large Movement of People to Kosovska Mitrovica. A UNHCR team went to Kosovska Mitrovica on 5 August to assess the situation with regard to reports that some 30,000 persons had newly arrived there from western Drenica. The team met with the local Emergency Council and was told that some 7,000 people per day had arrived in the last two days, totaling 20,000 to 30,000 in the last week. The influx was continuing along the backroad from Srbica to Kosovska Mitrovica at the time of UNHCR's visit.

Tractors and trailers were seen arriving in a steady movement, and UNHCR saw approximately 500 displaced persons during two hours along this road. Some of them were on foot and had been walking for the last two days. Most of them were from villages in western Drenica which they had left only during the last few days, fleeing heavy shelling. These people said that the whole area of western Drenica was being emptied of inhabitants and that houses were being set on fire.

Only five minutes after leaving Kosovska Mitrovica, the team encountered a UCK checkpoint on the road. On the way to Upper Prekaz, the team encountered three additional "UCK police" check points (unarmed men in black uniforms) and one manned by an armed UCK fighter. They behaved in a proper manner. The team stopped in Upper Prekaz, which apparently was where UCK controlled territory ended. Vehicles with UCK fighters were seen driving up and down the road. It appeared to the UNHCR team that the Serbian security had left this road open and refrained from attacking this UCK stronghold in order to direct the flow of IDPs through this area towards Kosovska Mitrovica.

1.6 WHO Assessment Mission on Medical Donations. WHO undertook an assessment mission this week on the situation regarding donation of medicine, and provided advice as necessary. A regional coordination meeting on this issue attracted wide interest from many health related agencies and NGOs. Also this week, an adequate amount of surgical supplies from WHO reached the hospital of Kosovska Mitrovica, the town close to the Drenica region.

1.7 UNICEF Plans Health Assessment. Within the next ten days, UNICEF, together with partners, is planning to conduct a comprehensive assessment of health services and facilities in Kosovo. This will include an assessment of the status of cold chain and vaccination services, amongst other things.

Internally Displaced Persons in Kosovo
(Estimates as at 6 August)

Municipality

Decane: 8,800

Djakovica: 23,000

Glogovac: 1,700*

Istok: 470

Klina:1,800*

Kosovo Polje: 190

Kosovska Mitrovica: 25,000*

Lipljan; 7,000

Obilic: 2,000

Orahovac: 43,500**

Pec: 7,760

Pristina: 13,000

Prizren: 2,400

Srbica: 4,200*

Suva Reka;1,200

Urosevac: 40

Vucitrn: 25,000

Zubin Potok: 100

Zvecan ; 150

TOTAL: 167,330

IDP figures are estimated based on UNHCR field visits to affected municipalities. UNHCR consults representatives of local groups in each municipality, such as the Crisis Committee, Mother Theresa Society, LDK, Emergency Council, the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedom, and the Yugoslav Red Cross. In addition, other organisations who are regularly in the field, such as ICRC and MSF, are also consulted.

* As a consequence of heavy fighting in Srbica Municipality this week, a large number of people fled Drenica Area, (Municipalities of Srbica, Klina and Glogovac) into Kosovska Mitrovica, Vucitrn and Orahovac municipalities. UNHCR estimates that 50% of the IDPs who had been earlier displaced in Srbica, Klina and Glogovac were, together with villagers, displaced into other municipalities.

** The estimated 43,500 IDPs in Orahovac include 8,000 people who recently fled Srbica.

2. MONTENEGRO

2.1 UNICEF: Funds Urgently Required for Education for Displaced Children. The only contribution to UNICEF against the Flash Appeal which was provided by the Government of Denmark, has been earmarked to support the Government of Montenegro in the provision of primary education for IDP children with effect from 1 September. More funds are urgently required for this purpose, as UNICEF is the only organisation working in the field of education services, while UNHCR is planning on assisting in the area of physical infrastructure and water/sanitation in schools.

2.2 WHO: Rapid Assessment of Health and Psycho-social Needs. WHO started a rapid assessment of the health and psycho-social needs of the IDPs from Kosovo. The survey is carried out and processed in collaboration with the Institute of Public Health in Montenegro. Special attention will be paid to mental health and psychological compliance.

3. FYR of MACEDONIA

3.1 FRY-FYROM Border Being Mined. Local media Dnevnik reported on 5 August that UNPREDEP had confirmed earlier news reports from Albanian sources that the Yugoslav Army was mining parts of the border between Kosovo and the Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia. According to Dnevik, OSCE, ICRC and Macedonian authorities have also been informed on this activity. Another local media, Flaka e vellaserimit reported on the same day that these landmines were planted near the villages of Gorance, Krivenik, Secishte, Dimce, Dermjak and down to the municipality of Vitina. The Macedonian Defence Ministry has not made any official comment.

For information, please contact:

Mans Nyberg, UNHCR Pristina
Tel: 381-38-321-09
Kaoruko Seki (OCHA), UNHCR Belgrade
Tel: (381)11-344-2091
Fax: (381)11-344-2947