Serbia + 1 more

OCHA Belgrade: Weekly Situation Report 01 - 13 Jan 2000

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UN Consolidated Appeal:
The latest figures indicate that as of 30 December 1999, the overall coverage for the 1999 CAP for the Southeastern Europe region stood at 80.5% (USD750 million received for the appealed amount of USD 929 million).

Coordination/Humanitarian Operations Database:

Compilation of the Humanitarian Operations Database (HOD), designed to track project activity and assist in planning and coordination, is continuing. OCHA is following up with Agencies and NGOs on standardization of data inputs, and is refining the stand-alone software required.

Refugees/IDPs:

In Montenegro, the registration process for IDPs from Kosovo has been completed, registering 30,289 persons. Since the close of the registration on 18 December 1999, between 300 and 500 additional applications have been received from individuals who were unable to register during the stipulated period.

The Italian NGO, InterSOS, has now completed the construction of 50 prefabricated buildings in the Roma IDP camps in Podgorica (Konik), with funding from Arcoboleno, Italy. Reconstruction of water/sanitation facilities on the site was funded by UNHCR. Currently, there are around 2,200 Roma IDPs living in the camp, of which 133 are still temporarily located in the settlement's kitchens, pending the construction of additional shelter. The Italian Red Cross is expected to donate two prefabricated structures next week, which could accommodate them.

Energy Assistance:

The final week of December saw the first very low temperatures of winter, with temperatures in Belgrade falling to -14 degrees celcius. Nevertheless, large import levels and improved output from the Hydropower Station at Djerdap (on the Romanian border) have maintained reasonable electricity supply. Even with certain industrial restrictions, consumption peaked at 143 GWh on 24 December 1999.

However, there were many technical failures, leading to numerous unscheduled outages around the country. Technical failures have caused serious disruptions to power supply in and around Leskovac (South-Eastern Serbia), which are continuing. Due to technical failures in a transformer, Kragujevac lacked heating on 25 December in temperatures of -14 degrees celcius. Outlying parts of Belgrade also experienced shortages in the last week of December.

OCHA-coordinated humanitarian assistance of high voltage Swiss spare parts were delivered to critical points on 23 and 24 December. These include circuit breakers for the Nis 2 sub-station, and material to allow the assembly of surge arrestors. OCHA is monitoring the use of these parts, while further deliveries are planned.

Swiss Disaster Relief is providing assistance for completion of the District Heating Plant Ljubic Kej in Cacak.

"Energy for Democracy" shipments of heating oil to Nis and Pirot have been continuing, although delays in customs on 11 January 2000, combined with delays in deliveries of oil from Jugopetrol, left Nis with heating oil shortages for a period. In addition, at a joint press conference in Belgrade on 30 December, Norway, G17Plus, and the mayors of Uzice and Cacak announced that Norway would donate 400 tons of heating oil to heat kindergartens, primary and secondary schools attended by 8,000 students in Uzice and Cacak.

Environment:

Representatives of the Joint UNEP/Habitat Balkans Task Force have visited FRY this week to further assess environmental damages and humanitarian assistance possibilities.

HUMANITARIAN RISK ANALYSIS

OCHA issued the December edition of the Humanitarian Risk Analysis, providing an overview of the socio-economic trends in the 1990s and analyzing the vulnerability of two of the vulnerable groups: the urban poor and children. (available on ReliefWeb at www.reliefweb.int).

UPDATE ON MONTENEGRO

During the Christmas holidays, tensions between Serbia and Montenegro rose, when religious services were held simultaneously by both the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) and Montenegrin Orthodox Church (MOC). On Christmas Eve in Podgorica, police forces, citing a security risk, prevented MOC and its followers from holding a special service because the location which they had chosen for the occasion had been occupied by militant priests and supporters of the SOC. Accusing the authorities of openly supporting the SOC and discriminating against the MOC, the Social Democratic Party, in a significant move, threatened to break with the ruling coalition over this event.

It should be noted that the (pro-Serbia) Socialist National Party is organizing a public celebration of the Orthodox New Year in Podgorica and that in 1997, such a celebration led to a civil unrest, with a number of policemen being injured.

OTHER MATTERS

At a meeting in Rome on 20 December 1999 between the Mayors of five Yugoslav and several Italian cities, the "City to City Operations" was launched. The Italian authorities have made USD 1.32 million available to meet the most urgent needs (shelters for displaced persons, food, medicines, heaters, primary schools, water, and environment) in the cities of Belgrade, Kragujevac, Nis, Novi Sad and Pancevo. This first phase will be followed by a second, more structured program, for which the Italian Government has allocated USD 5.27 million for 2000. There is a concern, however, that targeting opposition municipalities only would compromise the humanitarian principle, and it is the hope of the humanitarian community that this operation may be extended to other municipalities in the near future.

The UN Secretary-General issued a statement welcoming the release from prison on 31 December 1999 of Mr. Branko Jelen, the remaining CARE aid worker under custody of the FRY Government on charges of passing on secret information.

The FRY experienced no major disruptions due to the "Y2K" problem.

For comments and questions, please contact:
Ms. Kayo Gotoh, HAO/Analysis, OCHA Belgrade (Tel/Fax 381-11-682963; Email: ocha@eunet.yu)

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.