Approximately 90% of the total number of housing repair kits have been distributed throughout Kosovo by USAID/OFDA, ECHO, and UNHCR.
As of January 20, 2000 USAID/OFDA had distributed 100% of its roofing depot materials.
UNHCR's Office of the Special Representative to the U.N. Secretary-General (SRSG) is directly implementing a $8.96 million dollar complementary rehabilitation project to supplement shelter elements of its mainframe program. The objective is to provide resources for the emergency rehabilitation of some 3,000 houses. Selection of beneficiaries is being conducted through regional and municipal housing commissions with the participation of both international and national agencies. The overall project is being funded by the governments of France and Japan.
According to UNHCR, 1,008 refugees have returned to Kosovo via flights into Skopje airport over the last four days. The agency has organized the repatriation of refugees to Kosovo from Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands, which started on Monday with 144 persons from Switzerland. Over 125,000 refugees have taken part in organized repatriation since last year. UNHCR expects some 5,200 returnees this month, all of them either refugees or asylum-seekers.
According to a recent study on the power sector in Kosovo and southeast Europe, improvement of the power supply in Kosovo is dependent upon an improved power connection within the entire Balkan region. Previously, the regions of Yugoslavia shared power freely, resulting in needs being met on a region-wide basis. However, power is no longer shared in this manner and now requires that any exchange of energy be through an import-export relationship. In addition, power demands tend to peak in the winter months, leaving areas outside Kosovo with less power available for export.
The study recommends the immediate improvement of a power connection between Kosovo, Macedonia and Greece. The study also recommends repairing any destroyed transmission lines already within Kosovo, a project which is currently under way. The rehabilitation of selected segments of 400/220/110 transmission lines and connected substations will be necessary for longer-term grid stability and the reintegration of Kosovo into the regional power supply exchange.
Of Kosovo's two power plants, Kosovo "B" provides the best possibility for a long-term, stable power supply in the country, but will require a major overhaul and repair during the Summer to ensure full and efficient operation during the winter. Kosovo "A" on the other hand, which is older and more problematic, could be replaced altogether with an alternative energy source, for example a combined heating and power plant in Macedonia.
KFOR is coordinating closely with UNMIK border police to insure vehicles that are clearly a safety hazard are not permitted into Kosovo while the roads are icy. Checks for snow chains, snow tires, or 4x4 capability will be conducted.
Snow has rendered many roads unsafe for heavy vehicles. Humanitarian agencies are being urged to use rails for movement of humanitarian shipments into Kosovo. Rail transport is considered quick, convenient and inexpensive.
To date, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $473 million in response to the Kosovo crisis since March 1998.
DOS/Population, Refugees and Migration: $209,036,475