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Wednesday, August 19, 1998 Published at 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK

World: Europe

EU visitor speaks out in Kosovo

Many refugees have taken to the mountains

The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Emma Bonino, has warned that the Serb province of Kosovo faces a humanitarian crisis. Karen Coleman reports

Correspondent Karen Coleman previews Emma Bonino's three-day visit
Pale and unhealthy children, crying sick babies and worn out women were the images Emma Bonino was confronted with during her trip around some of Kosovo's war-torn regions.

The Commissioner was taken to the village of Cirez in central Kosovo. In the school there, over 300 ethnic Albanians are seeking shelter after abandoning their own homes when they came under fire from the Serbian forces.

[ image: Refugees living in a school in Cirez watch the EU visit]
Refugees living in a school in Cirez watch the EU visit
In a dark dreary room, four young children were sitting on a mattress. They told Emma Bonino that their mother had died giving birth three days previously. There were no medical facilities in the school to save her.

The Commissioner was clearly moved and asked the children who was taking care of them. The eldest, a 14-year-old girl, said she was.

After hearing more harrowing tales, Emma Bonino conceded that Kosovo was facing a humanitarian crisis.

[ image: Emma Bonino: Refugees face winter crisis]
Emma Bonino: Refugees face winter crisis
She said it was clear there was no way the displaced could cope adequately in wintertime unless a political solution could be found soon to resolve the conflict.

International aid workers say that in other parts of Kosovo, children are dying due to lack of food and clean water.

They believe the conditions will get worse and unless the displaced can be re-housed soon, many more may die during the cold winter months.

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