New Canaan, CT (January 21, 2000) AmeriCares, the international disaster relief organization, today airlifted approximately 45,000 pounds of essential medicines, medical supplies, new winter clothing, outdoor gear, gloves, hats, blankets and other relief materials to Kosovar citizens. The relief shipment, which departed Ostende, Belgium early this morning, is scheduled to arrive at Pristina Airport by midday. Upon arrival, the relief supplies will be immediately delivered to hospitals, clinics and healthcare facilities throughout the nation.
The relief shipment arrives at an opportune time, as the province struggles with a dangerous power crisis. The majority of Pristina's 600,000 residents have been receiving electricity for less than six hours a day. With temperatures around or below freezing, residents who depend on electricity to heat their homes are suffering. The energy crisis is the most recent obstacle to face Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority, many of whom fled Yugoslav President Milosevic's forces last spring. Ethnic tension continues to grip the province, months after UN peacekeeping forces entered the Balkan region.
"AmeriCares is committed to helping the people of Kosovo for the duration of their recovery from this devastating crisis," remarks Robert C. Macauley, AmeriCares Founder and Chairman. "As winter conditions worsen, we're stepping up our response, bringing HELP and HOPE to thousands in need."
AmeriCares was the first international aid agency to deliver supplies for the Balkan crisis, with a planeload of 33,000 pounds arriving in Macedonia on April 1st. Since then, AmeriCares has completed twenty-five additional airlifts and sent seven sea containers to Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo. On July 14, NATO authorized AmeriCares to deliver relief supplies directly into Pristina. Over 1,000,000 pounds of medicines, medical and nutritional supplies, baby food, infant formula, blankets, tents, clothing and personal hygiene products have been delivered to the refugees. AmeriCares is working directly with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, the Caritas organization and UNHCR to distribute the supplies evenly and efficiently to the returned refugees through local clinics, and food distribution programs throughout the province.
AmeriCares is the largest private nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that provides immediate response to emergency medical needs-- and supports long-term healthcare programs-- for all people around the world, irrespective of race, creed, or political persuasion.
To help continue our relief efforts, please call AmeriCares at 1-800-486-HELP, or send your cash donations to AmeriCares, 161 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840. For more information about AmeriCares, refer to www.americares.org.