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Balkans Task Force (BTF)
Situation Report No. 17

UNCHS (Habitat)(1575 octets)

Thursday,   12 August 1999
Overview
  • UNHCR's Special Envoy Dennis McNamara is travelling to Belgrade this week to look into the situation of displaced Serb and Roma people from Kosovo who have moved into Serbia and Montenegro.

  • The situation of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo is particularly disturbing because they are mainly vulnerable persons, many of them being elderly, disabled or isolated without family support. The situation of the remaining Serbs in Pristina town - estimated at no more than 2,000 from a pre-war figure of more than 20,000 - has noticeably worsened over the last few weeks, with increasingly violent attacks on the rise. UNHCR staff in Pristina say that the remaining Serbs are the least likely to have been involved in atrocities against Albanians, since most of the authors of such acts are believed to have fled the province.

  • More than 755,000 Kosovars have returned to Kosovo since the deployment of KFOR troops, as of 11 August. Of this total, 714,000 returned from neighboring countries and territories. It is estimated that only around 50,400 Kosovar refugees and displaced people remain in the neighboring territories, including 11,000 in Albania, 8,000 in Montenegro, 20,000 in the FYR of Macedonia and 11,400 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At the same time, non-Albanians continue to leave the province, mainly for other parts of Serbia and Montenegro. 179,000 people have moved from Kosovo into other parts of Serbia and Montenegro since the conflict began. Most of them -- around 130,000 -- have arrived since the end of the NATO airstrikes and the deployment of KFOR in Kosovo. many are living in very difficult conditions in tents and collective centers.

  • The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) said on 9 August that despite formidable challenges, the UN mission was on track towards fulfilling its key tasks.

  • Russian specialists, acting within the framework of the Focus program, began clearing mines around Pristina recently. Russian and Swiss engineers last weekend examined the Belgrade heating, energy, and water-supply systems, all of which were damaged by NATO air strikes.

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