Serbia + 1 more

IRC Weekly Update: Kosovo

News and Press Release
Originally published
At a briefing held at the IRC October 1st, Buck Northrup, IRC Regional Director for Former Yugoslavia, and Gerald Martone, IRC Director of Emergency Preparedness, reviewed the current situation in Kosovo. IRC began its work in Kosovo in March of 1997 implementing health, water and sanitation programs as well as "community building" activities that encouraged cooperation between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. The situation deteriorated to its currentemergency status, with hundreds of thousands of internally displaced ethnic Albanians taking refuge with families or hiding in the forests. IRC recently sent an emergency coordinator to organize the distribution of relief supplies to the displaced families. Disease is now spreading with many, especially the children, suffering from diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, and skin infections, and at risk for tuberculosis and measles. Many women have delivered their babies without medical assistance and the rate of infant mortality is escalating. The first snowfall has arrived and winter is approaching. Yet many families are living in the woods under plastic sheeting strung between trees and tractors. In addition to providing relief supplies, the IRC staff is preparing to respond with health and shelter rehabilitation services.

Lorna Stevens, Director, Board Liaison and Special Projects