Serbia's economic embargo on Montenegro continued to strain relations between the two republics. However, even though a few dozen trucks transporting food continue to wait to cross the border from Serbian into Montenegro, there are signs that the food blockade is loosening up. According to the police at the border, the decree of the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture is still being enforced, but some 30 trucks transporting food recently crossed this border.
The Dinar's value slipped against the DM, to 18 - 18.5 Dinars per DM. The Dinar is no longer accepted for payments in Republika Srpska.
During the week, UN OCHA released a study of the Yugoslav Gray Market. Due to the difficulty of measuring gray market indicators, much of the report's data consists of extrapolation of a government study conducted in 1997. Nevertheless, the numbers are consistent with trends observed in FRY by IOCC.
OCHA estimates that at present, the gray market may total nearly 50% of the Yugoslav GDP, and that the factors motivating gray market participation are consistent with those assessed in 1997. Principal indicators noted by the previous study include:
The average daily wage on the gray market was 46% higher than on the regular market.
Twenty percent (20%) of all pensioners participated in the gray market, earning a monthly amount almost equal to the average pension.
Seventy-five percent (75%) of gray market participants in 1997 were already employed in the formal sector, and almost one third of all officially employed persons were engaged in the gray economy during regular working hours.
Because of the dramatic decline in economic activity in FRY, the report estimates that the number of individuals engaged in the gray market has increased since the 1997 study; thus, the data above could well be more dramatic today.
This week ACT-IOCC/Belgrade completed distribution of family food parcels for 182 families and family hygiene parcels for 3,382 families.
ACT partner in Podgorica, IOCC, completed distribution of the following goods:
Family Food Parcels: 805
Family Hygiene Parcels: 205
Baby Hygiene Parcels: 525
In addition, ACT-IOCC distributed parcels to 1,200 privately accommodated IDP families in Vranje. All IDPs accommodated in tents in front of the Sport Hall in Vranje have been moved to more appropriate accommodations, most to collective center Vrtogos near Vranje. The "Vila Balkan" collective center has accepted an additional 12 families (41 persons) since the last reporting period.
IOCC responded to the request for assistance of the Orthodox Church for vulnerable households living in Gnjilane (Kosovo) by delivering 2,000 Family Hygiene Parcels. According to assessments, Serbs in Gnjilane face particular difficulties in securing hygiene products both because they lack money to buy them and because it is sometimes difficult to secure products even when money is not an issue. According to Church clergy, these individuals have received a minimum amount of humanitarian assistance so far.
In the wider Belgrade area, IOCC distributed to four collective centers accommodating old caseload refugees and IDPs from Kosovo. In assessing the conditions of a new collective center in Mirijevo, IOCC found the 39 families living without heating or appropriate accommodation and in great need of assistance. These families will be included in future IOCC distributions.
Weather conditions are fluctuating: quite cold nights, warm and sunny afternoons, densely foggy evenings, light snowfall and frozen roads. The work has to be adapted to those new conditions. On November 28, 1999, celebrations of Kosova-Albania national Flag Day took place.
SHELTER / WINTERIZATION
Emergency Winter Program - Prefabricated houses: The program carried out by 3 agencies of ACT-Kosovo, UMCOR, MCIC and LWF, is awaiting delivery of first load of 500 units. The training in erection of prefabs for local communities and ACT-Kosovo shelter staff involved in the program is carried out by Juhani Kokko, prefab specialist.
ACT-MCIC managed to supply Region Dragash with all needed timber for reconstruction. This was performed through cooperation with local forest company and their saw mill. They also started the deliveries of windows and electrical material in the villages where the second phase of reconstruction has began.
Only 3 trucks have arrived for reconstruction by ACT-UMCOR: One in Mitrovice (timber) and 2 in Rahovec (timber and doors). The distribution of material of self-help reconstruction continues on a daily basis (43m3 timber, 20t cement and 2.500 ridge caps this week), but there is a crucial need for critical 6m-length timber. 115 houses in Bare and Bajgore have completed roof reconstruction till the beginning of ACT-UMCOR program.
In Mitrovice, the building material is not coming as it was planned by ACT-LWF, but progress in building of roof construction has still been made in 12 villages (92 roofs installed). A partial delivery with shelter-kits is going with reinforced PVC, windows, doors, insulation material and stoves in all 17 villages.
DEMINING / MINE AWARENESS
The ACT-DCA program has turned over its first 100% cleared minefield to the local population. Demining units have operated at the Irznic School (13 antipersonnel mines and 2 hand grenades) and at 3 other locations (4 antipersonnel and 4 antitank mines found).
Concerning mine awareness, 5 schools have been visited, and 272 pupils attending.
FOOD SECURITY / AGRICULTURE
5100 pieces of chicken arrived in Gjakove and were distributed by ACT-MCIC in 36 villages in Dragash area. Project aims at food delivery to about 47.000 people in 43 villages.
Spare parts for tractors are in MCIC-Gjakove warehouse, so that project of reconstruction will continue.
Pristina team of ACT-NCA has chlorinated 75 wells and cleaned and chlorinated 13 wells in Banja village and Malishevo municipality.
A well cleaning team is searching for dead bodies in cave, which is located in Zgatar village. One dead body has been removed, but there may be more as a lot of clothes and stones were thrown there.
At present, work on 11 schools is well underway in different municipalities. Construction of the spring in Shkoza village in Malishevo is 75% completed.
The on-going rehabilitation of main water system in Drenoc has been progressing well along with water service lines and house connections. In the same area a 600m pipeline is underway and is anticipated to serve 10 new houses upon completion.
A similar project is carried out in Junic to serve 10 new houses.
Roma Camp in Mitrovica
Present Roma camp: 25 prefabs are completed in the camp by ACT-LWF. A contract has been signed with UNHCR to cover basic most of the implementing cost of a new camp.
From cooperation with local NGO's, ACT-MCIC approved several projects: tree planting in Gjakove, wool for women, technical support for a Student Union and a Women Forum, support for the magazine "Future", training courses for widows.
ACT-UMCOR funded Local Youth Programs including Alternativa youth group to organize an Aids Awareness Concert in Prishtine on December 1, 1999.
OVERVIEW OF ACT RESPONSE:
The five implementing partners in Kosovo are the Lutheran World Federation, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, Norwegian Church Aid, and DanChurchAid. Together they constitute the ACT humanitarian response within Kosovo, working in the predominantly rural areas surrounding Mitrovica, Decani, Djakova, and Rahovic; and 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.
Thank you for your attention.
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.