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Balkans Task Force (BTF)
Situation Report No. 6

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Thursday, 27 May 1999
  • The Romanian Minister of Environment Romica Tomescu has been quoted as stating that "pollution of water, air and land has grown since the beginning of the conflict", and that as a result, "negative consequences for animals and the population are to be feared…" (see specific items below).

  • WWF International (P. Weller) reiterated in a radio interview on 26 May, that despite uncertainties on environmental impacts, the countries concerned do and will need assistance in terms of monitoring equipment and materials for same. UNEP was positively mentioned as being willing to support assistance.

  • The ICRC completed a five-day assessment mission to Kosovo, including Prizren, Pristina and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) border area. The objectives of the mission were to make a first evaluation of the security environment, re-establish contacts and assess the feasibility of re-establishing a fully operational set-up again in Kosovo.1

  • As of 27 May, the estimated number of refugees and displaced people in the overall region affected is 779’300, including 440’600 in Albania, 252’300 in the FYROM (106‘200 in camps), 64’900 in Montenegro and 21’500 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Major Developments
  • The Romanian Environment Minister reported that acid rains in May in areas on the Yugoslav border were "the direct consequence of air pollution caused by fires following bombings" against targets in Yugoslavia. In the Timisoara department concentrations of sulfur dioxide were ten times higher than usual; dioxin levels could not be measured because Romania does not have the necessary equipment.2

  • The Bulgarian News Agency reported that air quality tests in Bregovo, near the Bulgarian-

1. ICRC, 5/21/99.
2. AFP, Agence Franšaise de Presse, 5/26/99; Reuters, 5/26/99. /font>
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