BUREAU FOR HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE (BHR)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)
Eighty percent of the USAID/OFDA roofing packages have been distributed to beneficiaries as of January 12.
Some 10,805 families (64,830 beneficiaries) have benefited from USAID/OFDA roofing packages to date. Nearly 60 percent of families that have received roofing packages have completed rehabilitation of their roofs.
The additional 500 roofing packages USAID/OFDA has procured under the Emergency Response Initiative (ERI) have now all been delivered to USAID/OFDA's roofing depot in Ferizaj. USAID/OFDA is in the process of procuring materials for up to 2,000 warm rooms as a part of the ERI stock to enable USAID/OFDA and implementing partners to respond to emergency shelter needs that arise during the winter.
USAID/OFDA has also assisted two United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) -sponsored shelter programs with provision of 346 roofing packages in order to finish over 700 roof repairs in Gllogovc (Glogovac), Skenderaj (Srbica), Vushtrri (Vucitrn), and Mitrovica.
USAID/OFDA has facilitated the donation of plywood from U.S. KFOR towards the UNHCR rigid shelter program in the Mitrovica Area of Responsibility (AOR). USAID/OFDA also provided 150 rolls of plastic sheeting towards this program. The rigid shelter program is designed to provide a total of 400 pre-fabricated shelters to people living in tents or inside irreparable houses who have no other shelter options.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a four-day international course in essential newborn care and breastfeeding. The course, which began January 12, included doctors from Kosovo among its participants. The course focuses on making delivery safer and maximizing care in a newborn's first hours. WHO reported that similar courses are planned for the following month in Kosovo's six hospitals. The courses will be conducted in Albanian.
On January 10-12, 50 local Kosovo and international groups were formally introduced to WHO and UNICEF's Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Program (IMCI). According to WHO, part of this introduction includes the identification of a group that will work on adapting the IMCI program to Kosovo and wider dissemination.
WHO reported that it has developed a new epidemiological survey system in conjunction with the Institute of Public Health (IPH) that replaces the NGO-based emergency reporting system. The new survey system began on January 1 and streamlines routine epidemiological reporting. Epidemiologists from the IPH, ambulantas, and health houses throughout Kosovo are training primary care staff on the new system.
Mitrovica's ethnic division has been a source of difficulty for the town's health care system. The main hospital is located in the northern Serb majority area, and for that reason is inaccessible to Albanian patients. The southern Albanian majority side of town must rely on a health house for its health care needs, and emergency or surgical cases must be referred to Pristina hospital, which is one hour away by road. In late December, UNMIK withdrew sponsorship of the Mitrovica hospital after the Serb staff refused to allow 22 Albanian health staff to work at the hospital.
In an effort to address this problem, UNMIK is currently supporting a new system, which includes a Moroccan KFOR field hospital in the southern Albanian majority area. UNMIK's plan also includes a multi-ethnic health center in the northern part of town that will be staffed by internationals. The center will have an "open-door" policy towards referrals from the Moroccan field hospital. The success of this plan will depend on KFOR protection for patient transport from southern to northern Mitrovica.
KFOR announced on January 10 that the Pristina airport would reopen to civilian air traffic on January 11. Civilian air traffic had been suspended on November 20, following the crash of a World Food Program (WFP) plane. Subsequently, the international civil aviation organization reviewed air traffic protocols and procedures, focusing on differences between military and civilian aeronautical documentation. The reopening of the airport will allow some humanitarian goods to again fly into Pristina, bypassing border traffic. The airport remains under KFOR control.
A major fire closed down one of Kosovo's two main power plants on January 10. This is the latest in a series of problems with the power plant, which faces frequent breakdowns due to old equipment and lack of spare parts. Repairs are expected to bring the fire-damaged plant partially back online by January 14 or 15. The full extent of the damage is still being assessed. (The other power plant shut down temporarily on January 9 due to lack of diesel and coal feeder problems, but the problems were resolved before the fire occurred.)
UNMIK opened an emergency energy center to serve as a clearinghouse for information on the energy situation and electricity problems in Kosovo. UNMIK announced that when total power output in Kosovo falls below 170 megawatts, an emergency plan will limit power to two hours on alternating with six hours off.
To date, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $473 million in response to the Kosovo crisis since March 1998.
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