Albania + 4 more

UNHCR Kosovo Crisis Update: 11 May 1999

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


Note: the text below is currently published daily, while the figures in the "Displacement
Statistics" table are updated as they are confirmed
AT A GLANCE

  • Unknown gunmen shot and seriously wounded a UNHCR staff member in Albania Monday night in an apparent attempt to seize his vehicle.
  • UNHCR appeals for funds for its relief program for Kosovo refugees, warns serious disruptions will take place unless cash is received immediately.
  • More than 3,600 refugees crossed the Morini border into Albania Monday, recounting stories of men being separated from their families; UNHCR began its latest information campaign to move refugees out of the Kukes region as NATO bombs fell close to the border.
  • Trains continue to carry people from Kosovo to the FYR of Macedonia border, but virtually no refugees are entering the country.
  • In the biggest departure yet, 2,242 refugees left the FYR of Macedonia on Monday under the humanitarian evacuation program, bringing the total who have left for third countries to more than 38,000.
  • The estimated number of refugees and displaced people in the region is more than 747,000, including nearly 239,000 in the FYR of Macedonia, 426,000 in Albania and 64,000 in Montenegro.

Major Developments

STAFF MEMBER ATTACKED

Unknown gunmen shot and seriously wounded a UNHCR staff member in Tirana in an apparent attempt to seize his vehicle on Monday night. Daniel Mora Castro, UNHCR’s Senior Water Development Officer, sustained a bullet wound. The 50-year-old Costa Rican was treated at the Tirana hospital, before being airlifted this morning to Geneva. The incident is under investigation.

FUNDING

UNHCR said on Tuesday that lack of funds could seriously set back efforts to help more than 747,000 refugees from Kosovo.

UNHCR had appealed for $143 million for its Kosovo operations for the first six months of this year. This was part of a series of consolidated appeals issued by all UN agencies and the IOM. To date, UNHCR has received just $71 million, all of which has been spent. If significant resources are not announced immediately, UNHCR will not be able to make further essential commitments to assist the refugees.

"The response by many donors – especially private donors – has been good, but we need to do more. We are providing only the most basic needs of the refugees and there is so far no end to the conflict in sight, or to the human suffering," High Commissioner Sadako Ogata said. "We are looking to our traditional donors to provide us with the financial means to cope with this emergency. I appeal in particular to countries in Europe and the European Commission. This is a European tragedy. It is essential that they bear a larger part of the burden."

She said improving camp conditions as the hot summer approaches is a top priority.

"But we also need to prepare for new refugee flows and to be ready to help refugees to return home as soon as that is possible. In the meantime, winter is only a few months away and we need to prepare for that too."

ALBANIA

A total of 3,677 people crossed the Morini border into Albania Monday. The great majority came late in the day, all of them on foot from the Mitrovica area. They were among the most traumatized refugees to cross the border since the crisis began. Virtually all – men, women and children – were in tears. There were wounded among them, including young children. The refugees spoke again of men being separated from the main group.

The Mitrovica refugees had left their homes in a series of villages anywhere from four to six weeks ago and had been wandering on foot ever since in a meandering odyssey. They stayed for several weeks in a village identified as Zablace in the Istok area, but about a week ago the Serbians attacked the column. One witness said, "They just opened fire with their weapons on us. They were shooting everywhere. They included Serbian civilians."

The group had walked the last stretch to the border virtually nonstop for three days. Among the wounded reaching Morini was one 5-year-old child with a bullet wound in the back of the neck, a young baby with a bullet wound in the foot and a boy of 12 years who had been shot in the back. One older lady had been shot in the arm.

The refugees said as many as 200 men had been taken out of the column before it reached the border, including some at a village identified as Landovica near Prizren.

None of these figures or stories can be independently verified.

A total of 4,522 people left Kukes Monday, including at least 57 tractors. In the last two weeks more than 1,200 tractors have left Kukes.

UNHCR started its latest information campaign to try to persuade refugees to leave the Kukes area. Information teams toured one of the tented camps (Médecins Sans Frontières camp), reading to the refugees a joint government-UNHCR statement on refugees in the area and responding to questions about safety and new destinations.

UNHCR has always viewed Kukes as a transit point and not a permanent spot for incoming refugees. The border area is very insecure. UNHCR also feels the refugees can be better looked after in more permanent facilities in the interior of the country and desperately needs space to house incoming flows. There are still close to 100,000 refugees in the area.

Some of the refugees arriving late Monday had to sleep in the open on the town square because there were not enough tented facilities to house them all – underlining the necessity to persuade many of the ‘resident’ refugees to move on.

FYR of MACEDONIA

Virtually no refugees crossed into the FYR of Macedonia on Monday. The last significant arrivals there were on Wednesday. On that day, 2,000 refugees arrived in the afternoon, but another estimated 1,000 who came in the evening were not permitted to enter.

In a bizarre twist, however, trains continue to arrive at Blace, at the border between Kosovo and the FYR of Macedonia, carrying a few hundred people each time. A train arrived on Sunday and again on Monday. Each day the trains let off just a few people and then travelled back into Kosovo full. One of the handful of people let off on Monday said that some who were sent back had to pay for the return trip.

On Monday, buses transported from the FYR of Macedonia 139 refugees who volunteered to transfer to Albania. All had family members in Albania whom they wanted to join. The buses took them initially to a camp at Qatrum, near Korca. UNHCR staff in the FYR of Macedonia are planning to take refugee leaders from the camps in the FYR of Macedonia on go-and-see visits to Albania.

HUMANITARIAN EVACUATION PROGRAM

A total of 2,242 refugees departed on Monday under the humanitarian evacuation program from the FYR of Macedonia to third countries. This included 261 to Canada, 132 to the Czech Republic, 162 to Finland, 154 to France, 143 to Ireland, 300 to Italy, 151 to Norway, 156 to Sweden, 156 to Switzerland, 210 to Turkey and 417 to the United States. The departures were the biggest so far in one day.

Some 38,400 refugees have departed under the program in which UNHCR has received offers for 135,000 places in 39 countries.

KOSOVO DISPLACEMENT STATISTICS

Information as at 11 May 1999, 06:00 GMT

Total recent displacement includes figures in Tables 1 and 2. It is emphasized that the totals in Table 1 in particular should be considered as estimates. Totals in Table 1 are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Note: Bosnia-Herzegovina non-Kosovar figures revised to include only those refugees resulting directly from the Kosovo conflict

Table 1: Daily Population Estimates (figures refer to displacement since March 1998)

Refugees/Displaced in:
Remarks
Total
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

(Republic of Montenegro)

Arrivals 9 May: ca. 900

Departures to Albania 9 May: 225

63,900
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

(Republic of Serbia)

No figures for displacement within Kosovo available

Yugoslav government report of 60,000 in Serbia unconfirmed

na
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Camp population: 89,100 (source: UNHCR Skopje); arrivals 10 May: 59; departures by air 10 May: 2,242 (see Table 2 below); overland departures to Albania 10 May: 139

Host family population: 114,920 (source: Macedonian Red Cross)

UNHCR border community estimate: 4,900

Refugees elsewhere (source: government): 30,000

238,900
Albania Arrivals from Kosovo 10 May: ca. 3,700

Arrivals from Montenegro 9 May: 225

426,600
Bosnia-Herzegovina Total comprises Kosovar refugees only

Also resulting from the Kosovo conflict: 20,550 from Sandzak, 10,700 Serbs and Montenegrins from FRY

18,500
TOTAL
747,900
Table 2: Humanitarian evacuations of Kosovar refugees from the FYR of Macedonia from 5 April through 10 May 1999 (figures subject to daily verification)
Receiving Country
Arrivals
10 May
Total
Australia
---
414
Austria
---
1,890
Belgium
---
1,205
Canada
261
1,821
Croatia
---
188
Czech Republic
132
590
Denmark
---
486
Finland
162
643
France
154
2,816
Germany
---
9,974
Iceland
---
70
Ireland
143
143
Israel
---
106
Italy
300
861
Netherlands
---
2,014
Norway
151
2,934
Poland
---
909
Portugal
---
359
Romania
---
41
Slovakia
---
90
Slovenia
---
186
Spain
---
443
Sweden
156
1,234
Switzerland
156
342
Turkey
210
6,691
United Kingdom
---
635
United States
417
1,379
TOTAL
2,242
38,464
Table 3: Asylum applications lodged by citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during 1998 and 1999 (monthly provisional and annual figures) last updated: 6 May 1999

This document is intended for public information purposes only. It is not an official UN
document.