Serbia + 1 more

Kosovo Winterisation Progress Report Issue #8

Situation Report
Originally published

Emergency repair kits - Over 96% of the total number of repair kits have been distributed by OFDA/USAID, ECHO, and UNHCR. OFDA/USAID now has completed this programme and has even increased its initial commitment from 20,700 to 23,100 emergency kits which have been completely distributed. UNHCR has distributed 14,300 kits, providing emergency materials for almost 100,000 beneficiaries in more than 450 villages throughout the province. Distributed through more than 40 different NGOs, the emergency kits were allocated in priority to the highly damaged regions of Djakovica, Pristina, Mitrovica and Pec. ECHO has distributed more kits in the regions of Pristina, Djakovica and Prizren. UNHCR’s balance of 1,700 kits (see below) are now only being used for emergency cases or for houses still receiving roofing kits from various other agencies - this allows families to augment their dry-room capacity to host more persons. Both ECHO and OFDA/USAID provide additional materials to their emergency repair kits in order to provide more insulation to the rooms the kits are covering.

Distributed in Kosovo
Roofing programmes - UNHCR complements its emergency repair kits with 4,200 expanded roofing kits comprised essentially of roofing timber, roofing plastic and nails. The Government of Denmark (DANIDA) has donated 1,200 of these. Ninety percent of the programme has been completed as 3,900 roofing kits have been released in 190 villages to provide shelter to an estimated 80,000 persons. In addition to the collaboration of 16 different implementing partners, UNHCR has also benefited from the assistance of KFOR in the distribution of some of these materials. OFDA/USAID has now received 100% of the timber for a similar programme which will provide 5,900 roofs for rural locations and 2,000 for urban areas; close to 6,700 of these roof kits have been distributed to their beneficiaries of which 5,300 have been erected. Recipients of all roofing kits are requested to host additional families.

Together with the timber provided for the emergency repair kits, UNHCR has now received and distributed over 95% of the 24,000 cubic metres of wood it had ordered for its overall emergency shelter programme. The balance of 1,400 cubic metres is expected shortly.

Other Programmes

The Office of the SRSG is directly implementing a $8.96 million complementary rehabilitation project to supplement shelter elements of the mainframe programme. The objective is to provide resources for the emergency rehabilitation of some 2,500 to 3,000 houses. Selection of beneficiaries is conducted through regional and municipal housing commissions with the full participation of both international and national actors. The overall project is funded by the governments of France and Japan and is composed of three components:

procurement of shelter materials - various materials (essentially timber and tiles) are being procured through UNOPS for the 3 banks/storages of shelter materials established in Mitrovica, Pec and Srbica municipalites. Work on the 1,300 houses planned to receive materials is reported to be nearly completed despite adverse climatic conditions.

cash for housing - UNMIK is paying invoices directly to local suppliers who provide materials for the rehabilitation of selected beneficiaries while implementing partner ADRA Japan and Cellule d’Urgence (France) monitor the works implemented by the beneficiaries themselves. With the support of OFDA/USAID who provided close to 300 shelter kit materials, ADRA Japan and Cellule d’Urgence have nearly completed the programme of rehabilitation of over 500 houses in the municipalities of Srbica, Mitrovica, Klina and Glogovac.

cash for beneficiaries - funds are distributed in 2 instalments directly to selected beneficiaries for the sole purpose of funding the rehabilitation (procurement and labour costs) of their houses. Average cost per house is DM3,000. This project is implemented in the regions of Djakovica, Pec and Mitrovica. Through the regular provision of instalments, work is currently ongoing on the 525 houses planned.

ECHO is funding 3 NGOs to provide materials to rehabilitate houses for over 480 households in Mitrovica and Pec regions (Mitrovica, Klina and Junik), preferably persons currently living in collective centres. To date, 360 of these households have been accommodated through this project.

European Commission Task Force (TAFKO) - supports the rehabilitation of 3,300 houses in 8 municipalities located in Djakovica, Prizren, Pristina, Pec and Mitrovica regions. The Task Force intends to expand the project to three other municipalities at the end of January. In addition to roofing timber, windows and doors, TAFKO will also provide roofing tiles, clay blocks and cement/lime. This permanent rehabilitation programme currently runs to April.

Shelter contingency measures

prefabricated units - all prefabricated units donated to UNHCR by the Government of Japan have been allocated through implementing partners for Cabra in Mitrovica, Loxhe in Pec and Decane in Djakovica. In Cabra, all 158 units are now in place and about 870 beneficiaries currently reside there. The other units which are also occupied, have been installed in Loxhe where 141 prefabricated units accommodate over 700 persons, and, in seven other locations in Decane where another 200 units have been erected.

temporary community shelters - with the finalisation of rehabilitation works, some 19,100 individual places have been identified in 113 different collective accommodation projects. UNHCR has completed the rehabilitation of 59 projects (9,700 places) and another 25 projects (4,000 places) will be handed over to managing NGOs shortly. Accommodation facilities identified vary according to regional specificities - they can include student dormitories and hotels, appartment blocks, empty factories, unfinished individual houses which can accommodate several families or even barns which are modified and serviced to allow for winterised tented accommodation. Another 29 centres with a capacity to accommodate 5,400 people have been identified and released by UNMIK to serve as community shelters if necessary - rehabilitation will be considered if this additional capacity is needed. However, there are presently only 6,600 persons living in temporary community shelters. Of these, UNHCR considers that only some 1,500 persons have sought this collective accommodation after 1 December, because of the winter - this figure is relatively low considering the current severe climatic conditions and the precarious situation of utilities throughout the province.

tents - UNHCR has distributed 1,400 out of 15,000 all-season tents with stoves which are held in stock in Kosovo for emergency purposes. According to ongoing field monitoring, very few of these tents are actually used as primary residences - most beneficiaries use them as extensions for limited living space or to serve as storage. The majority of recipients have advised they would also use them in spring when they are able to start reconstructing their destroyed homes. Following a verification conducted in five regions (Pec, Djakovica, Gnjilane, Urosevac and Pristina), less than 20 families have been identified as living in such tents. Alternative solutions (rigid shelters) will be provided for these persons since they do not want to leave their property for community shelters. Since mid-June, UNHCR has distributed a total of 15,400 regular tents to support rehabilitation efforts of families - another 2,600 of this category of lighter tents are also being kept in stock for contingency purposes.

rigid shelters - in Mitrovica, UNHCR and CARE have designed a rigid shelter prefabricated scheme for families with destroyed houses who cannot or will not avail themselves of other emergency housing alternatives. Malteser is UNHCR’s implementing partner for the production, erection and distribution of these shelters. Scottish Charities Kosova Appeal (SCKA) have also been instrumental in the delivery of this project by providing (along with US/KFOR) sheets of plywood and by fielding 3 mobile erection teams to assist the other existing 8 teams. To date, over 220 units accommodating 1,100 persons have been distributed and built. Materials have been procured for the production of another 200 units.

Emergency Response Initiative - OFDA/USAID will provide a total of 500 roofing packages and materials for some 2,000 warm rooms through its depot site in Urosevac. The programme supplements other initiatives by addressing the critical shelter needs of persons who must expand their current capacity, those who have not received any assistance yet or those who have received insufficient quantities of materials through other programmes. To date, OFDA/USAID has received over 200 requests for roofing packages and warm room materials from various agencies throughout the province.

Winter Emergency Team - Operations of UNHCR’s team are entering in their final phase and barring unforeseen circumstances, the emergency team is expected to be dissolved by the end of February. Current activities are focused on assisting families living in very isolated, high-altitude villages who overestimated their capacity to cope with the winter. These persons live in severely-damaged or destroyed housing but had nevertheless turned down offers of shelter made available by UNHCR in nearby towns. This situation has particularly occurred in the Shala mountains in north-east Kosovo (Mitrovica region) where concerned families will now be receiving rigid shelters and stoves. Materials will be distributed by helicopter and area-surveying will be done by UNHCR with the possible assistance of KFOR snow-tracked vehicles.


Stoves - of 30,000 multi-purpose stoves ordered, 26,300 have been distributed by UNHCR throughout Kosovo. Another 1,700 of 15,000 stoves destined for the all-season tents (see above) have also been distributed - some of them were provided also to rigid shelters. Numerous other agencies, such as ICRC, MCI, SDR, and Caritas are also in the process of procuring and distributing stoves. Current commitments of all agencies and UNHCR would indicate that needs for stoves are relatively well covered.

Firewood - together, ECHO and UNHCR have distributed over 70% of the 78,000 cubic metres of firewood they have committed for the whole province. A number of other actors are also conducting small localised distributions which complement the larger programmes. ECHO will distribute 18,000 cubic metres of firewood to 6,000 families in Mitrovica region through their partner, Premiere Urgence. Over 5,100 families have already received an allocation averaging 1.5 cubic metres. In Prizren region, several NGOs are undertaking firewood distributions (Caritas, CARE, ICS) and IOM has indicated it would distribute a total of 15,000 cubic metres of firewood. Both IOM and ECHO distribute an average of 1.5 cubic metres to each family. In addition, UNHCR plans to distribute 60,000 cubic metres of firewood destined to cover needs of some 20,000 extremely vulnerable families in five regions of Kosovo. CARE (UNHCR’s implementing partner for this activity), has already distributed over 50,200 cubic metres which are assisting some 16,700 families.

Non-Food Items - With the assistance of 8 main implementing partners, distribution of non-food items which started 14 June, continues throughout the province. This distribution comes in addition to relief items which returnees were allowed to bring back with them from refugee camps in Albania and fYROM.

One-Time Distributions
Initially planned (pieces)
Distributed in Kosovo (pieces)
Total beneficiaries (persons)
Kitchen sets
Plastic sheeting
Monthly distributions
Distributed in Kosovo (pcs) (average/month)
Total beneficiaries (persons/month)
Hygienic Kits
Soap (various types)
Winter clothing - on 31 October, UNHCR airlifted 570 cubic meters (61MT) of winter jackets for children, part of a EURO 3 million winter clothing project financed by ECHO. Since mid-November when first distributions started with the cold weather, over 90% of 65,000 winter jackets destined for children aged 4-12 years as well as the same proportion of the children’s boots have been distributed. Distribution of 130,000 under-shirts for women is also ongoing throughout the province. Priority areas are Pec, Mitrovica, Pristina and Prizren.
Committed (pieces)
Distributed in Kosovo
Children T-shirts
Children underwear
Children jackets
Children boots
Women undershirts

Food distribution - from 1 October to 31 December, a total of 46,700 MT of basic food rations have been distributed throughout Kosovo to an average of 900,000 to 1 million beneficiaries. In the month of December, some 17,400 MT of food assistance was distributed through the main WFP and FFP (CRS, MCI) food pipelines. Standard food rations include wheat flour, sugar, rice, vegetable oil and pulses. The current beneficiary coverage is due to continue until end of March after which it is anticipated that an estimated 600,000 persons will receive food assistance. This phase-down by some 30% is in line with planned reductions outlined in 1999 and is a reflection of the general increase in economic activity and availability/access to food throughout the province.

Monitoring the nutritional situation - With the advent of the most severe winter months, various agencies have conducted a number of food security and nutritional surveillance assessments. In this context, Action Against Hunger is now finalising a fourth nutrition survey (food security, anthropometry and child feeding practices) funded by UNHCR. The survey aims to monitor the nutritional status of the under-fives as well as of the elderly - preliminary results show no obvious deterioration of the situation. In this context, open-soup kitchens (Red Cross/ICRC) located in each of the main towns show no change in numbers requesting the one hot-meal per day. As a follow-up to two analyses conducted in June and September 1999, WFP will be conducting a food economy analysis in February. This will include an assessment to determine more clearly the extent to which populations have moved/are moving from rural to urban environments during the winter months.

Pre-positioning food - at the end of December, a total of 262 villages had received winter food stocks of two to four months rations. A total of 3,900 MT of food aid has thus been distributed to all regions, targeting over 66,000 persons living in isolated and inaccessible villages (mostly high-altitude locations).


Electricity Supply - Following extensive work on Kosovo’s two power plants, considerable improvements have been made in the delivery of electricity. The situation nevertheless remains very fragile. Today, some 510 MW are available while an estimated 600 MW are needed to cater to winter needs of the province.

Kosovo A has five units, two of which are now operating - Unit 4 produces 120 MW and Unit 5 some 100 MW. Repairs have been completed on Unit 3 which is ready to start and will become available only if one of the other units fail. The fifth unit (Unit 2) is completely unserviceable at this stage. Kosovo B has two units of which one was restarted on 19 January after a two-week period of repair. Unit 1 is currently generating 210 MW. Badly damaged by a fire on 11 January, repairs to Unit 2 (funded by the Government of Sweden - SIDA) are expected to last a few weeks. Some 80 MW of electricity is being imported from Serbia (40 MW) and Albania (40 MW) - discussions are ongoing about conditions of import from and through fYROM. UNMIK has established a Utilities Emergency Task Force which meets regularly and includes UNMIK pillars, UNHCR, EU and KFOR representatives. Except during peak hours which are from 17.00 to 22.00, occurences and duration of power shortages have been reduced. Diesel, mazout and chemicals are now available although some logistical difficulties are faced with the unloading of materials from the train station.

District Heating - Pristina’s district heating system serves 40% of the city’s total energy requirements. It can be severely affected by the power cuts and ensuing water supply problems. In this context, some water pipes in the plant have frozen because of power cuts and will therefore need to be repaired before the plant can function to its previous capacity.

Contingency planning - Although the population has coped remarkably well with the lack of electricity and heating during the past few weeks, UNHCR/Pillar I has developed an emergency response address serious humanitarian consequences for the most vulnerable groups, should the situation worsen. Early warning mechanisms have been put in place through the establishment of district focal points who maintain listings of vulnerable persons in their respective areas (particularly the elderly and the handicapped) and who are in contact with UNHCR’s Winter Emergency Team. The current response capacity, which could assist up to 80,000 persons if necessary, has the following elements:

distribution of warm non-food items - in a first phase, UNHCR would distribute through MTS, blankets, stoves, sleeping bags, thermal jackets, other items of winter clothing and firewood.

warm space for vulnerable families - in a second phase, UNHCR has identified several public buildings (14 schools) in Pristina which could be utilized as "warm day centres" for 16,000 most vulnerable persons (elderly, handicapped, young children and other groups at risk) should the need arise. This emergency capacity comes in addition to places remaining available in temporary community shelters located throughout the province (see above) and which would be used for needs other than Pristina city.


Blace border - The vast majority of humanitarian cargo comes into Kosovo through the fYROM Blace border crossing and is still experiencing delays due to a variety of factors as explained in earlier issues. A number of proposals have been put forward and discussed with UNMIK and the fYROM authorities concerning the development of a centralised collection/customs-clearance point at the EuroTrade Centre and a tentative agreement has been reached. Implementation details and timeframe remain are to be clarified.

On the Kosovo side, KFOR is lining up trucks waiting to exit Kosovo on a road between Kacanic and Urosevac and releases them by slots in order to avoid traffic jams at the crossing point. According to present UNMIK Customs Regulations only KFOR, trucks with stones, humanitarian aid and empty trucks can cross the Jazince/Tetovo border crossing point (alternative Kosovo/fYROM crossing) but driving conditions are difficult due to snow and ice.

Roads - The EU has donated 22 snowploughs which were handed over to UNMIK on 14 January. Along with 8 other snowploughs donated earlier, this material will be used to clear main roads within and leading to Kosovo. UNMIK will manage 4 snowploughs to cater to the needs of Pristina town and Slatina airport while KFOR will use the other 18 to clear the main supply roads. In this context, KFOR Multinational Brigades are authorised to shut down routes in their regions to all traffic, including military, to clear the roads.

Railway - The railway capacity is reduced as there is currently only one locomotive running between Teretna/Kosovo and Volkovo/fYROM. Two canadian locomotives are expected to start operating in the coming days, both to fYROM and to Pec. Two passenger trains per day (2 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon) have been running between Kosovo Polje and Zvecan since 27 December 1999 with a capacity of 290 passengers per train. To date, the average number of persons travelling daily is 100-200 passengers per train.

Humanitarian agencies have been using the railway as much as possible for the transportation of humanitarian cargo, in particular for the timber of the emergency rehabilitation programme. To date, UNHCR has imported over 232 rail wagons of timber (some 17,000 MT) while OFDA/USAID has brought in 37 trains (447 rail wagons) carrying over 34,700 MT of timber.

Airport - The airport was reopened on 11 January with 2 slots allocated to commercial flights each day (Monday to Friday) and four allocated on the weekends. WFP and a number of commercial companies have restarted their flights to Pristina.

Customs - As of 15 February, UNMIK customs requirements will be modified. Only NGOs officially registered with UNMIK ("public benefit" certification) will be entitled to duty-free importation. Any NGO not registered on this date will be required to pay taxes on their consignments which will be retained by Customs until payment is made.

This document is intended for public information purposes only. It is not an official UN document.

contact person:
Pascale Moreau
Office of the Special Envoy
UNHCR Pristina, Kosovo
tel. 389-70-254 863