UN Inter-Agency Update on Kosovo Situation Report 58

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 28 Aug 1998
Friday 28 August 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 New clashes have been reported in the region of Dulje, on the Pristina - Prizren road, in the the town of Podujevo, the wider Drenica region and within the Klina, Glogovac and Srbica triangle and in Malisevo municipality.

Fighting along the Stimlje - Suva Reka road continues. Over the last couple of days Serbian police checkpoints in Drenica, Podujevo, Lausa and Gornja Klina were reported attacked.

1.2 New displacement. New displacement has resulted from the recent clashes. UN agencies are trying to track the locations and the numbers to assess their condition.

1.3 Returns. An estimated 70%-80% of residents have returned spontaneously to Orahovac. 700 out of 2,500 villagers who fled have returned to the villages of Ade and Obilic. The returnees need help to repair houses and reconnect water and electricity. According to the field reports, most of the 180 houses remained intact in the area of Obilic.

However, it is estimated that some 15,000 houses have been rendered uninhabitable, thus making it impossible for residents to return.

Estimated Displacement Figures: (as at 24 August 1998)

Displacement within Kosovo* 170,000
Displacement into Montenegro** 35,000
Displacement into other parts of Serbia 20,000
Refugees into Albania*** 14,000
Visitors into FYROM**** 1,000
TOTAL 237,000

* Estimated figure based on information from various organisations in Kosovo.
** An average figure based on figures provided by the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior and the Montenegrin Red Cross, as shown in the next page.
*** Includes 7,000 registered in Tropoje District and an estimated 7,000 who have left for other areas.
**** Figure provided by a local NGO, El Hilal.

1.4 Humanitarian convoys. The Serbian police stopped the UNHCR led multy-agency eight-truck convoy at Slatina near Pristina on Thursday. The convoy had been trying to deliver aid to Skivjane in the Decane municipality (4 trucks) and to Brolic in the municipality of Pec (4 trucks). The 8-truck multi-agency convoy transported 25 tons of wheat flour, 3,000 family food parcels (with 1 month food provisions for 30,000 people), 30 rolls of plastic sheeting and 120 stoves. According to the Serbian sources the convoy was denied passage due to security reasons. UNHCR spokesman in Geneva said this was the first time since the beginning of the conflict in the region that a UNHCR relief convoy had been stopped and sent back without any explanation.

However, late Friday Mr Janowski told the journalists that the convoy had been granted permission to resume its journey.

1.5 Julia Taft, the US Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration accompanied by Ambassador Christopher Hill and Charge d'Affairs Richard Miles visited the villages of Kijevo and Vrnice in western Kosovo, where she was shocked by the humanitarian situation.

1.6 Pilot projects of return. Representatives of UNHCR and ICRC met on Thursday with the high level delegations from the Austrian Presidency of the European Union and Britain to discuss the proposal put forward by France and Germany to undertake pilot projects that would enable return of the displaced to selected areas in Kosovo. The EU members invited UNHCR to draft a proposal for potential returns depending on the situation on the ground.

1.7 Eleven aid points. Andreja Milosavljevic, Coordinator for Kosovo and Veljko Odalovic, Head of Kosovo District requested representatives of 50 humanitarian agencies including UNHCR and NGOs in Kosovo to work with the Government to form 11 aid points throughout Kosovo in: Orahovac, Djakovica, Decane, Klina, Osojan, Kijevo, Srbica, Glogovac, Malisevo, Suva Reka and Junik. The relief agencies were urged to help normalise the situation in the region and facilitate return of DPs to their homes.

1.8 UNICEF assistance. A joint mission of Federal and Republican Health authorities, Institutes of Public Health, the Institute for Mother and Child Health Care of Serbia and UNICEF visited Kosovo on August 23-25 to assess the health system capacities and staffing, epidemiological situation and immunization process. Until 24 August 6,222 cases of infectious diseases with 78 fatalities were reported in Kosovo. An outpatient obstetrics services will be re-established in Glogovac and Orahovac by mid-September.

Immunization has not been performed at almost 50% of vaccination points due to obvious difficulties related to the frequent population movements. UNICEF will provide MMR vaccines, syringes and needles. The state health authorities have pledged their support to the Mother Theresa Association mobile teams and promised to assure free passage through police checkpoints. The UNICEF mobile team continues to work in different locations examining more than 250 patients a day, 70% of whom are children. Diarrehoea is extremely common and there are a few cases of very severe dehydration.

1.9 WFP Food Aid Update. WFP led a 10 vehicle multi-agency convoy to Berane and Glodjane on 25 August delivering food and non-food assistance to up to 50,000 people in the 13 surrounding villages. 12 MT of of wheat flour, 2 MT of pulses and 2 MT of oil were delivered. On 26 August WFP delivered Humanitarian Daily Rations (HDRs), donation of USAID, to the village of Brolic. According to the reports, there are 3000 IDPs in the village, 200 of whom live out in the open.

2. MONTENEGRO

2.1 New Influx. Over 1,500 IDPs arrived in Montenegro following the deployment of the Serb security forces in the Rugovska Klisura. Emergency food and non-food supplies have been dispatched by UNHCR/ICRC/MRC to Rozaje and Ulcinj. According to UNHCR estimate 500 persons/day arrive in Montenegrin villages claiming insecurity due to the relative proximity of police/army forces. IDPs are unanimous in that an unknown number of people (2,000-4,000) are stranded in the forest on their way to Montengro. New arrivals were seen in Tuzi, 10 km away from Podgorica where already 1,400 IDPs are accommodated in vacant private houses. SDR/UNHCR team visited the village and requested approval from the local authorities for SDR to adapt the building turned into a temporary transit centre.

UNHCR and the staff of the Commissioner for Displaced Persons visited together the municipality of Rozaje where each house hosts an average of 20 DPS. At the request of the local RC mattrasses and blankets have been dispatched to the main towns to cover the urgent needs of the increased caseload. Stock is till available for 15,000 new arrivals. UNHCR and UNICEF met with the Minister of Education who stated parallel education system would not be allowed. UNHCR (SDR) will participate in rehabilitation of the school buildings while UNICEF will provide 1000 first grade textbooks. DRC opened offices in Plav and Rozaje.

Statistics (as at 27 August 1998)

Ministry of Interior Count of New Arrivals:
34,238
Montenegrin Red Cross Registered Caseload:

Total

Ulcinj

Rozaje

Podgorica

Plav

Berane

Others

15,117

4,561

4,567

7,483

1,160

1,000

35,913


Average of the two figures is shown on the first page. The discrepancy may be due to the fact that the Ministry of Interior is not keeping track of IDPs traveling through mountain paths. The registration in each municipality conducted by the Commissioner for Displaced Persons' Office is proceeding slowly, with only 9,000 IDPs recorded to date.

For information, please contact:
Fernando del Mundo, UNHCR Pristina
Tel: 381-38-321-09