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UNMIK: The First Six Months - Pillar I: Kosovo Humanitarian Update

Main shelter providers have undertaken the largest emergency shelter programmein recent history, working to provide emergency shelter assistance to Kosovars who suffered the destruction or damage of more than 120,000 buildings and dwellings in the province

Humanitarian agencies have distributed some 90 per cent of the planned emergency repair kits to provide up to 60,000 families, of up to seven persons each, with one warm, dry room for winter shelter. More than one-third of the planned 12,000 expanded roofing kits has also been distributed, with each kit providing shelter for up to 18 persons.

500 Japanese pre-fabricated homes have been assembled in several devastated villages in the Mitrovica and Pec regions providing desperately needed shelter.

UNHCR has identified some 19,800 places in 117 reconstructed or refurbished temporary community shelters should Kosovars need additional winter shelter. Already over 5,200 persons& "homeless Albanians and non-Albanian IDPs and refugees" are living in some of these shelters.

UNHCR, ECHO and IOM will supply more than 93,000 cubic metres of firewood to over 27,000 extremely vulnerable families. Already 10,000 families have received firewood and distribution will be comprehensive by year's end.

More than 45,000 stoves will be delivered to extremely vulnerable groups, host families, socio-medical institutions and temporary community shelters.

Families who wish to stay on their property over winter but have irreparably damaged housing, will receive 15,000 wood-stove equipped all-season tents.

95 UNHCR repaired schools will receive 21 cubic metres of firewood each to ensure winter heating.


More than 82,000 metric tons (MT) of food aid has arrived in Kosovo since June. Moreover, through the coordinated efforts of WFP, UNHCR and USAID Food for Peace, some 900,000 Kosovars receive 15,000 MT of food aid per month. Special efforts also target local residents at-risk, such as minorities and exceptionally vulnerable persons, to ensure they are receiving adequate food aid.

Four-month food aid stockpiles have been pre-positioned in villages across Kosovo, which are at high-altitude or are difficult to access to ensure food security during the winter months.

Fourteen hospitals and social institutions receive weekly deliveries of food and complementary food items.

Complementary food aid, such as meat, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, is also being delivered to some 40,000 vulnerable persons monthly.

UNHCR has procured and distributed, through its implementing partners, over 760,000 blankets, 380,000 mattresses, 115,000 jerry cans, 600,000 hygienic kits, 262,000 pieces of plastic sheeting, 600,000 sanitary napkins and one million pieces of soap.

Paying special attention to the needs of children in Kosovo, UNHCR has provided over 260,000 children's undergarments, 90,000 children's winter coats, and 90,000 pairs of children's winter boots.


Regular monitoring and reporting missions have visited communities-at-risk across Kosovo. One focus of these missions has been the identification of increased policing and security needs in at-risk areas.

Seven inter-regional bus lines provide over 1,000 passengers weekly with means of transport, but more importantly, freedom of movement within three main regions of Kosovo: Gnjilane, Mitrovica and Pristina. Passengers include Albanians, Serbs and Roma travelling with KFOR escort in UNHCR/Danish Refugee Council buses operated by international drivers with local translators.

Four UNHCR-funded legal and community centres, with mobile teams, provide legal counselling to all Kosovars. UNHCR's implementing partner for this project, Norwegian Refugee Council, deals with the full range of legal issues facing persons in Kosovo today, including housing and property issues, documentation, women's inheritance problems and domestic violence.

Apart from ensuring equal and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance, other measures include security devices for people at risk, mobile satellite phones and evacuations.

Financial support is provided to the local "Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms" at eight regional human rights offices to conduct returnee monitoring and to document human rights violations.


UNICEF has been coordinating efforts to repair and/or reconstruct over 700 schools throughout Kosovo. Of some 1,124 total schools in Kosovo, 837 were damaged and 123 were destroyed. To date some 250 have been repaired and another 300 have repairs under way.

UNICEF has distributed over 90,000 school bags throughout Kosovo. Additionally, UNHCR, in coordination with UNICEF and Children's Aid Direct, has procured 50,000 school bags with school supplies, with distribution ongoing.

A wide variety of other educational material has been distributed under the coordination of UNICEF, including some 25,000 desks, 37,000 chairs, 2,000 blackboards and 1,000 classroom kits for teachers.

UNICEF and UNHCR have provided support in communities throughout Kosovo, such as Orahovac and Pec, to establish centres for children of all ethnicities to address psycho-social needs and encourage reintegration. In the future, these projects will hopefully allow for efforts towards community reconciliation.

The Kosovo Women's Initiative (KWI) has approved more than 50 project proposals. Already, there are Women's Activity Centres established in a number of villages serving all ethnic groups. Three international umbrella agencies are coordinating local women's organizations to develop additional project proposals. KWI funding has been provided by the US government in support of UNHCR's commitment to targeting the reintegration and support of one of the most vulnerable returnee groups: women. KWI projects support well-established local women's NGOs, such as Motrat Qiriazi and the centre for Protection of Women and Children, but also encourage new initiatives by providing funds and technical support for income generation projects, counselling services, vocational training and classes in various subjects throughout Kosovo.

As part of a concerted effort, UNHCR with Community Services NGO partners ADRA, ICMC and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have established a referral and direct service network at each of the seven regional areas to respond to the immediate needs of vulnerable persons, including minorities.

With its implementing partner, Mercy Corps International (MCI), UNHCR helps support the 44 branches and 636 sub-branches of the Mother Theresa Society. In addition to thus supporting the local distribution network, support is available to help repair facilities in order to facilitate community development and grassroots networking.

UNHCR's Mass Information unit helps provide information about humanitarian activities, access to services and facilities and topics of interest to returnees and displaced using all formats and languages. For example, a weekly "Humanitarian News" page is published and distributed using local newspapers and direct distribution at field office locations; also since July, UNHCR has sponsored daily 30-minute humanitarian radio bulletins in Serbian and Albanian.


UNMIK and WHO coordinate the activities and initiatives of the health NGOs working in Kosovo; UNHCR participated in general coordination activities from June to September during the emergency return phase of the operation.

UNMIK regional and central health officers are identifying projects and activities to be funded by 25 million DM, with the input of WHO, by year's end.

In coordination with UNMIK's health unit, UNHCR engaged in the active monitoring of access to healthcare for minorities throughout Kosovo.

Support has been provided to MCI, Relief International and IRC for activities in the Reproductive Health sector. Training for reproductive healthcare providers will be followed up by distribution of kits containing reproductive healthcare materials in the municipalities of Pec, Klina, Istok, Prizren, Strpce, Orahovac and Suva Reka.

UNHCR completed a mapping exercise of all functional health facilities in Kosovo to assist in health activities coordination.

WHO and UNICEF sponsored a mental health conference in Kosovo co-organized by the Kosova Medical association. The two day conference focussed on community mental health services and available resources.

Funding of health sector NGO activities and support to local facilities was provided throughout Kosovo, including provision of concentrated oxygen to the hospitals of Pristina, Pec, Gniljane, Djakovica and Prizren; lice and scabies treatment medication for some 90,000 cases; and assistance to maternity centres

WHO and ICRC have delivered over 2,000 adult-sized and 2,000 infant-sized blankets for use at maternity units throughout Kosovo.


WHO will hand over the ongoing Pristina waste collection project to UNMIK. The German government, through GTZ, has donated over 800,000 DM to support the clean up of the city and the establishment of a solid waste management system with the local refuse company Hjgiena Teknika. Some 200 new employees and over 120 skips and six waste trucks have been purchased to help with these efforts.

To assist with rubbish removal and water works, UNHCR has operated over 50 heavy trucks through implementing partners and other interested NGOs. An additional 33 trucks will be in Kosovo by year's end.

The Joint Civil Commission for Health has approved WHO's proposal for standardization of water sampling, testing and quality enforcement. This project will be coordinated with the central Kosovo Institute of Public Health.

Over 15,000 wells have been inspected and cleared throughout Kosovo.


Under the coordination of UNMACC, mine clearance NGOs have cleared some 15,000 private homes and over 550 schools. In addition, well over five million square metres of Kosovo fields and land have been marked and cleared.

Demining teams have cleared and/or controlled detonations of some 2,000 anti-personnel mines, over 1,500 anti-tank mines, almost 2,500 cluster bomb units and over 5,000 un-exploded ordinance.

With 17 organizations doing mine clearance and 20 organizations promoting mine awareness, there are some 700 international specialists involved in mine action. These organizations are also building local capacity with over 550 local Kosovar being trained and employed in mine action.

In addition to general public UNMACC coordinated activities, UNICEF has produced and distributed over 443,000 posters and leaflets on mine awareness and provided audio cassettes, television public awareness spots and trained mine awareness educators for children.