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World - Europe

With camps at capacity, more refugees expected

Ethnic Albanian refugees line up for food under a sunny sky at the NATO-run camp at Stenkovec, Macedonia

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The Kosovo refugees

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Crisis in Kosovo
 MAPS
NATO officials describe the air campaign
 

Situation 'extremely depressing'

April 20, 1999
Web posted at: 12:05 p.m. EDT (1605 GMT)


In this story:

Macedonia agrees to another camp

U.N. asks for more room in other countries

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STENKOVEC, Macedonia (CNN) -- Relief workers said Tuesday that the flow of ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo had slowed tremendously, but they were preparing for the possibility of more large waves of refugees.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 refugees had crossed into Macedonia since Monday, officials said, and 25,000 have arrived in the last two weeks.

Ron Redmond of the United Nation's refugee organization UNHCR said that the agency had received reports of a new column of ethnic Albanians heading south from the area of Pristina, Kosovo's capital.

"But there is no way for us to really verify this information," Redmond said.

NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said Tuesday that Serb security forces were conducting what he called a "safari operation" against ethnic Albanians, first chasing them from their homes, pushing them south toward the border and then turning them around again before they can cross.

"It's extremely depressing," Shea said, "that human beings are being used as pawns in this macabre and Machiavellian chess game."

Macedonia agrees to another camp

With refugee camps in Macedonia and Albania already filled to capacity, relief workers worried that significant numbers of new refugees could severely affect their aid efforts.

Redmond said that Macedonia had agreed to build a new camp, which would house up to 20,000 additional refugees. Macedonia had originally balked at the idea, fearing more ethnic Albanians would enflame tensions between the former Yugoslav republic's pro-Serb majority and its Albanian minority.

"We are extremely relieved," Redmond said. "It gives us a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and we are scrambling now to work with that."

The new camp, at Cegrane near Tetovo in the northwest part of Macedonia, will be that country's seventh refugee camp. The United Nations has also asked Macedonia to consider establishing three additional camps, each able to house 10,000 refugees.

Shea said Tuesday that Albania had also agreed to more refugee facilities.

The new camps, officials said, are not meant to ease the overflow from existing camps, but rather to house new refugees who make their way across the border.

More than 30,000 refugees have been airlifted or bused to third countries from Macedonia. On Tuesday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees renewed an appeal for countries outside the Balkans to accept Kosovo refugees on a temporary basis

U.N. asks for more room in other countries

"We need additional support, and we need it now," Sadako Ogata said in a statement. "We will continue to lead this operation, but we urgently need more contributions of the kind that only military and civil protection units can provide."

Julia Taft, the U.S. undersecretary of state handling refugee matters, told CNN that UNHCR officials had hoped that the Kosovo refugees could be kept in the region, but the numbers were just too great.

"This is to reduce the congestion and particularly the impact on Macedonia," Taft said. "So many more countries are coming forward and they will be moved in the next few days."

She told CNN that aid workers had been working with international telecommunications companies to implement a tracing system to help refugees get documents and reunite families.

Correspondent Matthew Chance and Reuters contributed to this report.



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NATO bombs hit several Yugoslav cities
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Five ethnic Albanians killed when vehicle hits land mine
April 18, 1999
U.S. holding Yugoslav officer as POW
April 16, 1999
Macedonia fears it could become KLA staging ground
April 16, 1999
Official Pentagon statement on captured Yugoslav soldier
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Yugoslavia rejects U.N. peace plan for Kosovo
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Active duty ahead for thousands of reservists
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RELATED SITES:
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News


Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Relief:
  • Kosovar doctor helps refugees one at a time
  • Mercy International USA
  • Donations for Kosovo Refugees
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from DisasterRelief.org
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page


Media:
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

Other:
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