BUREAU FOR HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE (BHR)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)
All timber for the 7,900 USAID/OFDA-funded roofing packages is now in Kosovo, and 64 percent of the timber has been distributed to beneficiaries as of December 22.
Some 20,691 families (124,146 beneficiaries) have benefited from emergency shelter kit distributions and 8,605 families (51,630 beneficiaries) have benefited from roofing packages to date.
Some 44 percent of families benefiting from the roofing packages have completed construction of their roofs. Roofing package distributions are expected to be complete by December 31.
To address any emergency shelter needs that may arise during the winter, USAID/OFDA is developing an emergency response initiative (ERI) that will supply emergency shelter materials as needed. The ERI will provide a total of 500 roofing packages and material for 2000 warm rooms from USAID/OFDA's roofing depot in Ferizaj (in addition to those roofing packages and emergency shelter kits USAID/OFDA has already programmed and distributed). This program will complement UNHCR's Winter Emergency Team.
UNHCR's Winter Emergency Team, made up of two to three teams of two people each, has been busy addressing emergency needs for individuals and groups throughout Kosovo. The team has access to UNHCR winter supply items in the UNHCR warehouses such as tents, winter clothing, blankets, stoves, hygiene kits, and a dwindling supply of sleeping bags.
UNHCR reports that 20,000 spaces in 113 different collective center sites have now been identified to house those with shelter needs.
UNHCR's collective center program is being implemented to cover the rehabilitation of 95 sites to house 13,148 beneficiaries. The remaining sites out of the total of 113 are either being rehabilitated by other agencies or will be reserved as a future contingency if shelter needs demand their use. UNHCR has already fully rehabilitated 48 sites for a total capacity of 6,626 and reports that approximately half of these spaces were occupied as of December 13.
Food and Non-food:
The World Food Program (WFP), along with its implementing partners, has developed a winter feeding program designed to pre-position four months of food stocks in 180 remote villages that are inaccessible to aid agencies during the winter. WFP reports that all 180 villages have now received the pre-positioned stocks, which WFP expects will last the villagers throughout the winter.
Since refugees began returning to Kosovo in June 1999, WFP has reduced the total number of beneficiaries from a high of 1.5 million to the current number of 874,000. WFP expects the number to decrease further in spring, as beneficiaries reduce spending for winter needs, freeing up income for food, and as employment opportunities in the public and private sectors increase.
In the western region of Kosovo, international humanitarian NGOs in cooperation with UNHCR and the Mother Teresa Society (MTS) have established effective distribution systems and are providing a variety of basic items, including monthly food rations, blankets, mattresses, winter clothes, stoves, and hygiene packs in the municipalities of Peja, Klina, Istok, and Decane.
The need for winter tents in Prizren AOR has reportedly dropped dramatically as shelter programs reach completion and those currently residing in summer tents find alternate living arrangements.
To date, 35 trains carrying the USAID/OFDA-funded shelter material have arrived in Kosovo and have been off-loaded. One or two more trains are expected to arrive before the end of the shelter program.
Kosovo received its first significant snow on December 20, two months behind normal seasonal changes. Accumulation of snow and ice has made driving conditions dangerous and slowed traffic considerably, thus hampering the delivery of humanitarian supplies. Roads are reportedly unsafe for heavy vehicles, and the humanitarian logistics center has advised agencies to use the railroad for shipments into Kosovo. (USAID/OFDA has relied almost entirely on rail transport to bring in shelter supplies, thus bypassing weather and border-related slowdowns.)
Snow and icy conditions have particularly affected the Blace border crossing. On December 22, the border was closed for an extended period due to weather conditions hampering movement. As a result, KFOR will coordinate closely with UNMIK border police at Blace in order to restrict vehicles that are a clear safety hazard into Kosovo as long as roads are icy.
To date, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $465 million in response to the Kosovo crisis since March 1998.
DOS/Population, Refugees and Migration: $201,237,130