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The Xinhua News Agency, AUGUST 20, 1999

Copyright 1999 Xinhua News Agency

U.N. task force to assess nato bombing impact on Danube river

A united nations task force is preparing to assess the environmental impact of the recent U.S.-led nato bombing of yugoslavia on the danube river, U.N. officials said here friday. The task force jointly organized by U.N. environment program (UNEP) and the Human Settlements (Habitat) balkans task force will leave from budapest on monday and travel down the danube river for a week to the federal republic of yugoslavia. Last month, a previous balkans task force mission assessed environmental damage at selected industrial sites in the country. The habitat segment of the balkans task force is still in pristina, the provincial capital of kosovo in the serbian republic, where the task force members are looking into urban management, rehabilitation, housing, property laws and other issues related to human settlements, the u.n. officials said. Starting march 24, nato staged 79-day air strikes on yugoslavia, dealing a severe damage to many civilian infrastructure, including those on the danube river section in yugoslavia. The air strikes created serious pollution problems in the balkans and even europe as a whole, not to mention the humanitarian crisis the military alliance brought about in the region, observers here said. The Danube river, running some 2,780 kilometers in length, is europe's second largest river. Rising in the black forest, it flows east through germany, austria, and hungry, where it receives the drava, the sava and the tisa. It cuts between the carpathians and the balkan mountains, runs along the romanian-bulgarian border, then curves up into romania and flows into the black sea in a huge, three-armed delta.

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