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Balkans Task Force (BTF)
Situation Report No. 14

UNCHS (Habitat)(1575 octets)

Thursday,   22 July 1999
Overview
  • Three teams of international experts from BTF left for Serbia and Kosovo, to begin work on an independent assessment of the environmental and human settlements impacts of the Balkans conflict.

  • Bernard Kouchner arrived in Kosovo on 15 July to take up the post of Special Representative of United Nations Secretary. 1

  • U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a speech to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on 20 July, that failure by the international community to help restore water supplies and other essential services in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) now could result in an exodus of Serbs. He also said it would take at least 10 years to complete reconstruction under the so-called new Marshall Plan, or stability pact, for the Balkans.

  • A mission of the Austrian Federal Environment Agency (led by UNEP/INFOTERRA NFP representant Johannes Mayer) was organised in Sofia from 12 to 20 July to check at a more informal expert level data on the environmental impact of the conflict. A documented report will be available in August 1999.

  • The second phase of the FOCUS humanitarian operation has started in FRY on 20 July. A detailed chemical and radiological study of soil, water and air was underway in Pancevo, a suburb of Belgrade. Mobile chemical and radiological laboratories were brought to Yugoslavia from Russia. The labs will test samples of soil, water and air near the potentially hazardous sites in FRY.

  • World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn visited Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Kosovo. He called on the international community to be generous in their financial support for rebuilding the province.

  • On 16 July, the Government of Japan decided to extend to the UNHCR and the World Food Programme (WFP) a total of 20 million dollars as additional humanitarian assistance to the Kosovar refugees in response to a U.N. emergency appeal. The assistance comprises a financial contribution of 18 million dollars to UNHCR and 240 million yen to the WFP. Of the contribution to the UNHCR, two million dollars will be allocated for the procurement, transportation, construction and maintenance of temporary shelter (500 prefabricated houses). Construction of these prefabricated houses and related activities will be carried out by Japanese NGOs based on a contract with the UNHCR. The remaining 16 million dollars will be allocated for UNHCR's activities in sectors such as shelter, logistics and health/sanitation.

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