ACT has issued two appeals in 1999: in March / April the EUKC91 for the refugees/ IDPs from Kosovo that took refuge in Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia and in other parts of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY); in July the EUBK91 appeal for the people returning to Kosovo and IDPs and the population in the other parts of FRY. The 1999 appeals, in sum, after revisions, amounted to US $ 62.425.928, of which the ACT network very generously to this day has donated US $ 53.390.935.
We now make the network aware of the upcoming appeal for the ACT response on Balkan for 2000, covering the whole year, and the whole region. One Balkan appeal, with 3 sections: 1) FRY ( except Kosovo ), 2) Kosovo and 3) neighbouring states of Macedonia and Albania. The total request for 2000 is at this stage estimated to be approximately US $ 50 million. Plans are not finalized, so there might be changes +/-. The final appeal will be issued 15.12.1999. Because it is a large appeal, and we hope to keep it short and readable, it will only include a one-page short description of each project, with only the budget sub totals and bottom line. The full plans, descriptions and budgets, will be available from the ACT implementing members on request, and on the ACT web-site.
We hope, based on this alert, that the ACT network will start the fundraising process for the ACT response in the region for 2000 ASAP.
2. Short presentation of the current situation in the region.
As winter definitely makes its presence felt on Balkan, with night frost in the lowlands and snow in the higher areas, the misery of a large part of the population becomes ever more evident. In addition to the 1,7 mill displaced people in the region, and the hundreds of thousands of returnees to Kosovo that lost most of their livelihood during the war, a steadily increasing number and percentage of the population, particularly in Serbia and Montenegro, become dependent of outside assistance to survive, most urgently heating and food, and in Kosovo shelter. But other needs also urgently need to be addressed. It is basic relief assistance, providing shelter, heating, food, hygenic articles and clothes. In addition the ACT response in 2000 will address issues that not solely are emergency needs, but also have positive long-term effects: clean water / sanitation, school rehabilitation, social development and support to community building, and assistance to secure future income. And not least, even if it is very complex and difficult, we do hope that the ACT response may give a valuable contribution to healing amongst the communities of the Balkans.
One of the serious problems in the region, in addition to the vast number of displaced, are the lack of jobs, and seriously decreased income for those who have a job. This is the case for most areas, particularly in FRY, incl. Kosovo. Average monthly income for those with a job in Serbia was in September DM 84 ( US $ 47 ) and in Montenegro DM 115 ( US $ 64 ). In Serbia an estimated 800.000 people earn DM 20 ( US $ 11 ) per month. The pension was DM 70 ( US $ 39 ) per month. In Kosovo pensions are not being paid any more. In combination with increasing prices, and serious inflation ( in FRY 19,5 % in September 1999 ), and a long period of bad economy for the population in the region as unemployment has risen to a very serious level, it should be easy to understand that the humanitarian needs are getting urgent, primarily in Serbia.
In Kosovo the physical and psychological damage wrought by the war is still fresh. Despite continuous ethnic tensions, and frequent violent incidents, the rehabilitation and reconstruction is ongoing, but importation of building materials is slow, and the reconstruction of family houses has gone much slower than planned, leaving many families without proper shelter for the winter. And jobs are scarce, and many suffer from lack of income, or funds, to buy basic food and other items. For most people the savings have gone, as have their property and most belongings.
The communities in Albania and Macedonia are still suffering from the war in the region, and the influx of refugees earlier this year. Some refugees still remain, in collective centers and living with host families.
3. Planned program for 2000.
Implementing ACT members are: Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization ( EHO ) in cooperation with Lutheran World Federation ( LWF ) in Vojvodina, Hungarian Interchurch Aid ( HIA ) in Sandjak and Serbia and International Orthodox Christian Charities ( IOCC ) in Serbia and Montenegro.
The relief assistance will be given as food and hygenic parcels ( for 214.000 persons ), soup kitchens ( serving 690.000 one day portions ), and firewood ( for 400 families ). Beneficiaries are four primary target groups: IDPs, refugees, war-affected populations and social institutions ( at least 10 are in the plans ). In addition plans include running of a pharmacy, a surgery, a Diaconal Center, rehabilitating buildings for winter shelter, distribution of 35.000 vegetable seed parcels and an agricultural project.
The total ACT response in FRY is at this stage budgeted to US $ 4.628.200.
B. Kosovo - Metohija.
Implementing ACT members are: Christian Aid ( CA ), DanChurchAid ( DCA ), LWF, Macedonian Center for International Cooperation ( MCIC ), Norwegian Church Aid ( NCA ) and United Methodist Committee On Relief ( UMCOR ).
In addition to the extensive destruction of private houses, shops, agricultural equipment and buildings, infrastructure etc., a major problem is the lack of jobs / income and destroyed civic society and non-functioning public structures.
A major part of the ACT response in 2000 will be a comprehensive support in all these fields to the same geographical areas that have been supported by ACT in 1999. The concept is based on the good experience UMCOR and LWF have with this wholistic approach in Bosnia over several years.
The input in reconstruction will be in some 2,000 private houses, 20 schools ( also including furniture and stoves ), 10 community structures/clinics and other local infrastructure, like bridges, roads, culverts etc.
Closely linked up to the reconstruction component, is the water and sanitation project. It will, in addition to providing water and sanitation to schools and public buildings being reconstructed by the ACT response, focus on central water systems with local water points, replacing shallow wells with clean water from springs or deep groundwater wells, improve the sewage situation to avoid pollution of drinking water, establish institutional control over the water works etc. The project will gradually be taken over by locals. The well cleaning and corpse removal project will continue, from 2000 planned taken over by local community members while still administered / led by an ACT member.
Under food security / agriculture / income generation plans include farm machine repairs, livestock reintroduction, seed distribution ( among them 600 spring agriculture kits ), 600 poultry packages, provision of hand tools, rehabilitation of 500 hectares of vineyard, reconstruction of 10 agriculture cooperation centers, loan schemes, vocational training and support to re-establishment of 40 small scale industries. Some plans for distribution of food and non-food parcels to the most vulnerable, being elderly and female headed families, are also included.
The social development projects include youth projects, stimulation of "grass-root" level civil society action, education and psycho-social support, 25 primary school operated tree seedling nurseries, support of local media, and training courses on conflict resolution, leadership, civil society, social work and community development.
Also the demining component from 1999 will continue, as the danger of mines is still most realistic. Mine-awareness will be taken over by locals in April. Another 2 teams, in addition to the 2 already trained and working, will be allocated to the program, one of them specialized in mechanical mine clearing.
As in 1999, the ACT humanitarian response in Kosovo will be coordinated by Central Services, providing also information / communication services, appeals writing and reporting, financial and logistic support etc.
The total ACT response in Kosovo is at this stage budgeted to US $ 42.464.743.
4. Neighbouring states.
The wars in the Balkans, not least the last one in Kosovo, and the huge influx of refugees to the surrounding states, have had a serious impact on the societies in these countries. In addition to the damage and negative effects on the economies and the society, there are still some refugees left, in Albania 5.000 registered and in Macedonia 20.000, many of which are Roma. These 2 countries will also be included in the Balkan 2000 appeal.
In Albania, implementing ACT member Diaconia Agapes of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania, plans distribution of sets of winter clothes to refugees and vulnerable persons, refurbishment and running of a collective center for refugees staying through the winter or transiting, and rehabilitation of and school equipment input for several schools.
The total ACT response in Albania will be submitted with the appeal.
In Macedonia, implementing ACT member MCIC has planned a post-crisis rehabilitation. Target groups are refugees, vulnerable and marginalized groups, and communities which used to host, or are still hosting refugees. The programs are food security, monthly distribution of food and hygenic parcels to 3.000 families, cash for shelter to host families, and restoration of water and sanitation for host communities, including Roma settlements.
The total ACT response in Macedonia is at this stage budgeted to US $ 2.135.000.
4. Regional coordination.
A regional coordination team was set up in April 1999 in Skopje by NCA, having the ACT implementing member coordination responsibility for the region. The team has concentrated on contingency planning and support related to appeals writing and revisions, convening regional coordination meetings, organizational building and development of structures for cooperation, various assistance to the ACT implementing members, facilitation of ACT members in Skopje, communication and information etc. There is a wish to continue the regional coordination in 2000 for as long as the appeal is open, basically with the same tasks as in 1999.
The total costs for the regional coordination is in 2000 US $ 300.000.
1. Budgeted costs for the ACT response in FRY: US $ 4,628,200
2. Budgeted costs for the ACT response in FRY/Kosovo: US $ 42,464,743
3. Budgeted costs for the ACT response in neighbouring states (so far): US $ 2,135,000
4. Costs for regional coordination: \US $ 300,000
Thank you for your attention.
For further information please contact:
ACT Co-ordinator, Miriam Lutz (phone ++41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 203 6055)
ACT Appeals Officer, John Nduna (phone +41 22 791 6040 or mobile phone ++41 79 433 0592)
ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org
ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.
The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.