Although rain and heavy snow throughout Serbia made it difficult for some deliveries to take place, IOCC completed a series of distributions to 181 collective centers in 43 municipalities.
In Jagodina, IOCC distributed assistance to centers that accommodate refugees but lack formal official collective center status. According to targeted old caseload refugees, this was the first assistance received in the past 12 months. In terms of age groups, these centers predominately shelter elderly people, many of whom suffer from physical disability or chronic illness. There is no heating on the upper floors of the hotel and IDPs are not allowed to use heaters because of bad electrical installations.
Kraljevo has the highest number of refugees and IDPs in Serbia; most live in appalling conditions. Residents of the Ribnica collective center, for example, live in a large room separated only by blankets. Formerly a cultural center, Ribnica has 10 meter ceilings and it lacks adequate heating. In another center, Technical School, 60 refugees live in a gym with no separation walls; all activities, including cooking, take place in a single large room.
Through the Kragujevac sub-chapter of Philanthropy, the humanitarian organization of the Serbian Orthodox Church, IOCC distributed 3,750 baby hygiene parcels to privately accommodated refugee and ID infants and infants in local vulnerable households.
The WFP's Head of Office in Belgrade has stated that 10% of Serbia's population is in need for food, equal to that of North Korea.
The UNHCR released preliminary figures of IDPs after a 4-week census. Although not all municipalities have been fully canvassed, including Podgorica, the UNHCR claims that just over 30,000 IDPs presently live in Montenegro. If accurate, the number represents a 36% reduction in the IDP population; prior to the census, the UNHCR believed Montenegro hosted approximately 47,000 IDPs. Despite the UNHCR's position, the WFP's planning figure for Montenegro is 53,000. In addition, the Montenegrin Commissioner for Displaced Persons maintains that the actual figure is in excess of 45,000. The UNHCR plans a similar census is planned for refugees in 2000.
Although Montenegro's industrial production for November 1999 increased by 6.9% from October 1999, prices increased by 25.3 % (highest raise this year). Compared to the 1998 price index, current prices 94.5 % higher.
PROGRAM ACTIVITIES & PROGRESS
IOCC / Belgrade distributions:
4,392 Family Food Parcels
4,392 Family Hygiene Parcels
5,678 Baby Hygiene Parcels
309 Institutional Hygiene Kits
17,596 Estimated beneficiaries
IOCC / Podgorica distributions:
999 Family Food Parcels
905 Family Hygiene Parcels
1,030 Baby Hygiene Parcels
1,199 Institutional Hygiene Kits
7,325 Estimated beneficiaries
GENERAL OVERVIEW ON POLITICAL AND SECURITY SITUATION
UNMIK and local political leaders have signed a long-awaited agreement to form a power-sharing council to bring Kosovars into the administration of the province. The Interim Administrative Council includes seats for three ethnic Albanians, one Serb and four members of the U.N. mission in Kosovo. Mr. Kouchner is to be its executive and legislative chairman with a right of veto on all decisions. The council's two "co-presidents'' are Hashim Thaqi - leader of the "provisional government,'' and Kouchner's deputy, American Jock Covey. The co-presidency will be rotated among Kosovar council members every two months. Also in the new council is Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova. There was no response from the Serb community to the invitation to join the body.
The Interim Administrative Council will supervise 14 administrative departments (health, education, commerce, finance...). Most of them should be ready to work before end of January 2000. Defense will stay the responsibility of the 50,000-strong NATO-led KFOR peacekeeping force. Some as the Interior (police) will be difficult to settle.
The security situation has be relatively quiet during the last weeks. Return of weapons continue. No major incident has been reported. Christmas, Y2K and Bajramin celebrations have been very quiet in Prishtine, despite many celebrating fireworks. In Mitrovice it has been quiet too, even when Mr. Bernard Kouchner, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, organized for a New Year's Eve a meeting between Albanian and Serbian Community on the bridge, which separates the town in two parts.
The notable change during this reporting period is that power and water became more precarious than ever. Central heating is unbearably weak while Kosovo's supplies of water and heating both depend on city electricity network. To face this situation, emergency plans to ration power have been defined. Roads became also very icy, which made transport difficult.
SHELTER / WINTERIZATION
New shipments of prefabricated houses arrived in Mitrovice, Gjakova, and Rahovec. The first order of 500 units will be soon brought to completion. Progress have been slowed down due to weather conditions and Christmas, New Year and Bajram celebrations.
WELL CLEANING / WATER SANITATION
ACT-NCA well cleaning and water cleaning teams have cleaned and/or chlorinated a total of 95 wells in Malisheve, Mitrovice and Decani municipalities. Water supply to Bytych village in Malisheve municipality is 95% completed (piped water supplied from an uphill source by gravity to 62 households and 1 primary school with 300 children).
Work on establishing of community and play rooms continues: Social development programs got 10 prefabricated house for 5 ACT-LWF villages, mainly for women's groups who were not able to start meeting and working without a warm room.
Income generating for women: 600 kg of pure wool arrived from a factory in Tetovo/Macedonia. Their products will be sold on the European market, which needs assistance from other NGOs specialized in the field of marketing and export.
Basic Training in social work: The social development coordinator started the first 3 days basic course in social work for 8 women. This will go on in January.
ACT also supports the most vulnerable villagers: ACT-LWF social assistants assessed in "their" villages 210 families, with frequent distribution of food and non-food items.
Violence on women and children: First contacts have been taken with the UNMIK police division of investigation and the OSCE desk of Human Rights. ACT-LWF will participate to a round table in January, which will define urgent needs (secret shelters for women, campaigns in schools etc.) and interested persons and organizations.
OVERVIEW OF ACT HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE in KOSOVO:
The six implementing partners in Kosovo are the Lutheran World Federation, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, Norwegian Church Aid, DanChurch Aid and Christian Aid. Together they constitute the ACT humanitarian response in Kosovo, working in the predominantly rural areas surrounding Mitrovica, Decani, Djakova, and Rahovec; They are engaged in shelter and school rehabilitation, winterization, de-mining, well cleaning /water sanitation, agricultural and food assistance, and social community development.
Of the fourteen project within the current ACT appeal four -- HungarianInterchurch Aid, Ecumenical Humanitarian Organization, the International Orthrodox Christian Charities and LWF --are focused on assisting internally displaced persons, refugees, and other needy persons; within the FRY areas of Vojvodina, Sandzak, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
For further Information please contact:
Veronique Avril, ACT-Kosovo Appeals/Reporting
TEL: +381 38 549 187/188/190
FAX: +381 38 549 189
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.