Serbia + 1 more

OCHA Belgrade: Weekly Situation Report 25 Feb - 2 Mar 2000

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
Refugees/IDPs

In Montenegro, the EU has been providing, through the Montenegrin Commissioner for Displaced Persons, assistance for some 20,000 host families (as of March/April 1999) of Kosovo IDPs at the rate of DEM 3 per person per day. The funds allocated for 1999 was sufficient to cover such assistance until July 1999. The EU is also providing support to the health authorities to help cover the increased health costs due to the presence of IDP populations. It is estimated that the Montenegrin Government is incurring extra expenditures in health, education, etc., of about DEM 2 million per month.

According to UNMIK's Humanitarian Pillar, over 5,000 ethnic Albanians from southern Serbia have moved to Kosovo since August 1999, allegedly in fear of harassment and violence. Last week over 60 such IDPs arrived in Feizaj/Urosevac.

Health

In 1999, the Government's per-capita health expenditure was reportedly about USD 40 - a figure substantially lower than USD 60 originally predicted. This raises a concern about deteriorating health services and increasing difficulties among vulnerable groups in FRY.

Energy

Three major failures interrupted electricity supply, demonstrating the fragility of the FRY electricity network. A power transformer failure in Novi Pazar on 28 February caused significant power reductions in the area, particularly in outlying villages. On the same day, four technical failures at the Obrenovac Thermal Power stations resulted in at least 1200 MW placed out of service, causing blackouts in many parts of Serbia. Half of Belgrade was without electricity for about two hours. In sub-station Nis 2, two current transformers have burned.

At a joint press conference (by Norway and G17-Plus) on 29 February in Belgrade, it was announced that Norway was expanding heating fuel deliveries by providing 1,000 tons of heavy and light heating oil to hospitals, schools, kindergartens, cultural centers, and residential areas in Uzice, Trstenik, Pozega and Arilje. Norway had earlier delivered 500 tons to Uzice and Cacak.

Under the EU's expanded "Energy for Democracy" program, the towns of Sombor, Subotica, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, and Kraljevo, Nis and Pirot are receiving deliveries of fuel.

Environment:

On 2 March, the UNEP/OCHA assessment mission on the impact of the cyanide spill in Romania arrived in FRY, having completed its visits to Romania and Hungary. The mission will meet with the FRY authorities and take samples from the Tisza and Danube Rivers.

Operations/Logistics

It is reported that following the issuance on 3 February of a decree from the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, movements of food items from Serbia to Montenegro continue to be blocked. On the other hand, there seems no difficulty in brining goods (with proper documentation) from Montenegro into Serbia.

HUMANITARIAN VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT

In Montenegro OCHA launched a Study Series on Humanitarian Vulnerability in Montenegro, a periodic publication aiming to examine many aspects of social vulnerability and to match levels of assistance with information on vulnerable groups within the Republic. The first issue was produced on 17 February, focusing on the social welfare and unemployment in Montenegro (Available on ReliefWeb at www.reliefweb.int).

UPDATE ON MONGENEGRO

Tension between Montenegro and Serbia has increased, due to the installation of a pro-FRY Government TV station in Montenegro.

Montenegro and Albania opened the common border on 25 February. This is seen as a first step toward greater levels of cooperation between the two neighbors, with future plans to also link railway, road, and electricity supplies. Movement across the border is unhindered, with customs and police officials processing paperwork. However, Belgrade's reaction has been negative. Two armed VJ checkpoints have been established about 3.5km inside the Montenegrin border, recording all pedestrians and vehicles.

In Montenegro, a law on NGOs, which regulates their founding, registering, operating, joining, and cessation, is in place since July 1999. In addition to continuing the registration, last few weeks NGOs started receiving local license plate for their vehicles.

OTHER MATTERS

On 28 February, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Balkans, Mr. Carl Bildt, briefed the Security Council, outlining the issues relevant to the search for a regional settlement. Among other things, he expressed concern over the tension growing between Serbia and Montenegro. There is to be a series of briefings on the region at the Security Council, to be followed by a comprehensive report in April.

The international humanitarian community is alarmed by the deteriorating security situation in southern Serbia where increasing insecurity and lawlessness have been reported in recent months. This was most recently evidenced on 29 February when a UN vehicle was ambushed by a group of armed and uniformed men near Bujanovac, in southeastern Serbia near the border with Kosovo. As a result, a Belgrade-based OCHA staff member, who was conducting a humanitarian assessment in the area, was wounded in his legs. After recognizing that they had attacked a UN vehicle, the attackers were apologetic, claiming that it was a case of "mistaken identity." The injured OCHA staff was eventually transported to a nearby KFOR base where he received medical treatment and is now in a stable condition. The perpetrators identified themselves as originating from the predominantly Albanian villages in that part of Serbia.

IOM reports that pending discussions between the FRY authorities and UNMIK, the election registration for the displaced former residents of Kosovo currently hosted in other areas of FRY has been put on hold.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for FRY (excluding Kosovo), Mr. Steven Allen, has been contacted by the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Mr. Olara Ottunu, concerning the report of the Secretary-Genral to the Security Council in relation to Security Council Resolution 1261.

For additional information, please contact:
Ms. Kayo Gotoh, HAO/Analysis, OCHA Belgrade
Address: Kneza Milosa 68/II, 11000 Belgrade, FRY
Telephone: (381)(011) 3614-368; Fax: 682-963; 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/.