Albania + 4 more

UNHCR Kosovo Crisis Update: 12 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

Doctors in Geneva say UNHCR staff member is in stable condition following a bandit attack in which he was shot and seriously wounded in Tirana, Albania.

Some 300 refugees arrive in Albania as influx goes down to a trickle following large influxes over the last several days. A handful of refugees arrive in the FYR of Macedonia, all with travel papers, as the border remains closed.

A total of 2,054 refugees left the FYR of Macedonia on Monday under the humanitarian evacuation program, bringing the total departures to more than 38,000.

The estimated number of refugees and displaced people in the region is more than 741,000, including nearly 231,000 in the FYR of Macedonia, 427,000 in Albania and 64,000 in Montenegro.

Major Developments

WOUNDED STAFF IN STABLE CONDITION

Daniel Mora Castro, UNHCR’s senior water development officer, is in stable condition in hospital after he was shot and seriously wounded on Monday night by unknown gunmen in Tirana. Mora Castro, 50, was with a colleague in a UNHCR vehicle when the gunmen in a car pulled over and fired, wounding him in the head. He was treated in Tirana and was flown to Geneva on Tuesday, where his condition was described as stable. Cause of the attack was not immediately known. The incident is under investigation.

ALBANIA

The flow of refugees into Albania slowed to a trickle Tuesday when 300 people crossed the Morini border.

Among the new arrivals were several employees from the Prizren hospital who were arrested at work and taken straight to the border. In the last three weeks, a number of employees have been taken from the same hospital and thrown out of the country.

There were were 4,885 departures from Kukes to other parts of Albania.

UNHCR kicked off its "information campaign" to try to persuade some of the estimated 90,000 refugees still in Kukes to immediately leave the region for more secure and better facilities in the south.

The first day met with mixed results. UNHCR field staff toured one of the tented camps (Médecins Sans Frontières camp), read out the joint UNHCR-government bulletin and answered specific questions – most of which centered on what conditions were like in the south and where refugees were expected to move.

Field teams will go back into the MSF camp today and ask refugees willing to move to indicate where they want to go. Depending on how many respondents there are, UNHCR would then be able to make transportation arrangements.

Field staff also visited a so-called "tractor park" in Kukes where Kosovars fleeing on tractor-trailers have been living. Around 2,500 people at this tractor park immediately said they would move south and arrangements are being made to move them within the next few days.

Trying to persuade refugees to move is an extremely complex problem. They have their own reasons for not wanting to move –being nearer the border where family may still arrive from Kosovo, being near the border if and when they can go home, and the fear of the "unknown" of other parts of Albania.

Another factor was at work yesterday. Members of the Kosovo Liberation Army have been active in the camps trying to dissuade people from leaving. After UNHCR visited one collective center yesterday and the bulk of the 700 people agreed to move, KLA representatives followed and by the time UNHCR returned, the refugees had "changed their minds" and now didn't want to go. UNHCR staff are going back to the center again today to try to persuade them to leave.

FYR of MACEDONIA

For the sixth straight day, the border area between Kosovo and the FYR of Macedonia at Blace was empty yesterday. A train arrived at the crossing point at Djeneral Jankovic. Seven passengers who had valid Yugoslav travel documents were allowed to enter the FYR of Macedonia and were taken to Stankovec I camp. They reported that the train had carried only 20 people and that the 13 others had been sent back. Another 60 persons entered FYR of Macedonia at the Tabanovce crossing point. All had valid travel documents.

UNHCR is putting together a plan which will be taken up with the Skopje government to support its policing activities in the refugee camps. Although the situation has been relatively stable so far, the risk of a deterioration of security conditions remains. Overcrowding, the risk of exploitation of refugees by various political groups and corruption are concerns that UNHCR intends to address with the introduction of a camp security liaison team, which will work closely with the Macedonian police.

The plan involves the use of international security officers, seconded from one or more governments, to assist the Macedonian authorities who are increasingly burdened by the high number of refugees they have to secure.

REPUBLIC OF MONTENEGRO

UNHCR Special Envoy Dennis McNamara visited the Republic of Montenegro this week. During a two-day stop in Rozaje, he met with NGO representatives and looked at camps hosting refugees from Kosovo. He met with government officials in Podgorica before holding a press conference during which he appealed to the international community to support Montenegro in coping with the influx of Kosovars. He also called for assistance to in recognition of its open door policy towards the displaced Kosovars.

Meanwhile, the influx into Montenegro continues. More than 400 people from Kosovo arrived in Montenegro at Rozaje on Monday. The program to help the displaced also continues. Eleven trucks arrived on Wednesday in Podgorica with UNHCR relief items from Belgrade. UNHCR also received relief items loaded in four trucks from the aid agency Swiss Disaster Relief. UNHCR has purchased cleaning materials which have been delivered to the centers for IDPs in Rozaje and Tuzi.

HUMANITARIAN EVACUATION PROGRAM

A total of 2,054 refugees departed on Tuesday under the humanitarian evacuation program from the FYR of Macedonia to third countries. This included 424 to Australia, 162 to Austria, 270 to Canada, 160 to Denmark, 168 to Finland, 322 to Italy, 148 to Norway, 154 to Portugal, 99 to Turkey and 147 to the United Kingdom.

Some 40,500 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 12 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: UNHCR Skopje today advises that their previous "border community" estimate (4,900) in the FYR of Macedonia is also included in the government's "unregistered elsewhere" figure. This double count therefore removed.

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 10 May: ca. 470
64,400
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: 86,200 (source: UNHCR Skopje); arrivals 11 May: 187; departures by air 11 May: 2,054 (see Table 2 below)
  • Registered host family population: 114,971 (source: Macedonian Red Cross)
  • Unregistered elsewhere (source: government): 30,000
231,200
Albania
  • Arrivals from Kosovo 11 May: ca. 300
  • Arrivals from FYR of Macedonia 10 May: 139
427,000
Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Total comprises Kosovar refugees only
  • Also resulting from the Kosovo conflict: 20,550 from Sandzak, 17,590 Serbs and Montenegrins from FRY
18,500
TOTAL
741,100
Table 2: Humanitarian evacuations of Kosovar refugees from the FYR of Macedonia from 5 April through 11 May 1999 (figures subject to daily verification)
Receiving Country
Arrivals
11 May
Total
Australia
424
838
Austria
162
2,052
Belgium
1,205
Canada
270
2,091
Croatia
188
Czech Republic
590
Denmark
160
646
Finland
168
811
France
2,816
Germany
9,974
Iceland
70
Ireland
143
Israel
106
Italy
322
1,183
Netherlands
2,014
Norway
148
3,082
Poland
909
Portugal
154
513
Romania
41
Slovakia
90
Slovenia
186
Spain
443
Sweden
1,234
Switzerland
342
Turkey
99
6,790
United Kingdom
147
782
United States
1,379
TOTAL
2,054
40,518
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.