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Balkans Task Force (BTF)
Situation Report No. 3

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Friday, 14 May 1999
Overview
  • UNDP announced on 11 May the creation of a Kosovo Crisis Trust Fund to help Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) address the medium and long-term implications of the influx of ethnic Albanian refugees.  

  • The Red Cross announced they will carry out an assessment on the present and future ecological problems in Yugoslavia.

  • Macedonia’s capacity for refugees was 20’000, but they have currently received approximately 250’000 refugees (13% of the total population of the country). The environmental impacts are numerous (see below).

  • The estimated number of refugees and displaced people in the overall region affected is now more than 748’000, including more than 234’000 in the FRY of Macedonia, 431’000 in Albania and 64’000 in Montenegro as of 13 May.

  • The Macedonian Ministry of Environment established an inter—sectoral working group, with a task of regular environmental monitoring and information exchange. The Republic of Macedonia needs strong international support to monitor the quality of the environment.

Major Developments
Air
  • Russia’s Federal Hydrometeorological Service is watching the hydrometeorological situation and potential spread of pollution from the Balkans crisis.1

  • The Macedonian Ministry of Environment is carrying out regular monitoring of air quality through its Environmental Information Center. As of 12 May, no exceedance of the maximum permissible values of the observed parameters had been detected.

  • The Red Cross branch in Pancevo made a request of a weather monitoring unit to be used to analyse potentially high levels of toxic gases which might necessitate evacuation of the local population. The unit and software were donated by ICRC to municipal authorities.2

1. Voice of Russia, 04/23/99.
2. ICRC – Crisis in the Balkan, Situation Report N. 28.
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