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World - Europe

Kosovars surge toward home as U.N. relief arrives

Refugees race across an unmanned border crossing in Morina, Albania  
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June 14, 1999
Web posted at: 3:33 p.m. EDT (1933 GMT)

GLOGOVAC, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- A flood of about 25,000 displaced people came down out of the hills around this small village Monday as the first U.N. convoy arrived with relief supplies.

Serb paramilitary forces, still in the area, did not interfere as aid workers handed out wheat, flour, oil, baby formula, blankets and bottled water.

Many of the displaced said they had not eaten bread in months.

"There is no meat. The cattle have been killed. They're only eating corn," said Christiane Berthiaume of the World Food Program.

"The big problem is there won't be any harvest this year, so we need to help them to go back home very quickly," she added.

One woman showed a typical daily ration: a few handfuls of popped corn in a bowl.

Dennis McNamara with the United Nations said Serb forces fired in the air as they left the area, but no one was hurt. He said approximately 500,000 are displaced in Kosovo.

The World Food Program and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees brought five large trucks of supplies into this village 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) west of Pristina, which is normally home to 5,000 people.

Some refugees in Macedonia and Albania seemed to heed UNHCR's warnings not to rush back to Kosovo before they are assured that the province is secure, said UNHCR spokeswoman Judith Kumin.

Others nonetheless crossed into southern Kosovo on Monday. They waited in long lines at a Macedonia border checkpoint, now controlled by U.S. soldiers. Some stopped to kiss the ground as they crossed.

Others near the Morina, Albania, border crossing went over the border on their own, away from traveled roads and NATO checkpoints. Risking land mines, unexploded bombs and sniper fire, they set off through the woods for home.

Many have taken a mountain trail, despite knowing the risks. Land mines, set off by hidden trip wires, already have been found.

Correspondents Matthew Chance and Jeff Flock contributed to this report.

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June 12, 1999
Some Kosovo refugees return while others continue to flee
June 12, 1999
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June 12, 1999
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  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • 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

Resettlement Agencies Helping Kosovars in U.S.:
  • Church World Service
  • Episcopal Migration Ministries
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  • Iowa Department of Human Services
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Immigration and Refugee Services of America
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • United States Catholic Conference

  • World Relief
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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