Sunday, March 28, 1999 Published at 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Serb 'scorched earth' offensive
Most of the refugees are women and children
More than 500,000 Kosovo Albanians have been driven from their homes because of a scorched earth policy adopted by the Serb military, according to Nato.
In the last few days alone, Mr Shea said, 50,000 Kosovo Albanians have been forced to flee their homes, many heading to neighbouring Albania and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Mr Shea said the situation is "on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster, the likes of which has not been seen in Europe since the closing stages of World War II."
He accused President Milosevic of adopting a scorched earth policy with villages burned and ethnic Albanian men taken away to unknown destinations by security forces and paramilitary groups.
The refugees arriving in Albania and Macedonia are reported to be mostly women and children.
"It seems that Milosevic is trying to create a new situation on the ground, in his view irreversible, and at the same time ... trying to destabilise the entire area."
He said there were reports of ethnic cleansing in a number of areas, with Yugoslav forces apparently trying to "empty" parts of the north and also near the southern border with Macedonia.
Nato says the Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova is now in hiding and his house has been burned.
Journalists are unable to substantiate the reports of the Serb attacks or refugee numbers as access to Kosovo is now banned.
They speak of whole families being shot, but say men of fighting age are particular targets.
The majority of the refugees, usually with no money and very few belongings, have walked to the border.
Our correspondent says the refugees are allowed to cross the border to Macedonia very swiftly.
Italy prepares for 'massive influx'
About 80 refugees from Kosovo, mainly women and children, were picked up by Italian police along the beaches of southern Italy on Saturday night.
BBC Rome Correspondent David Willey says the Italian authorities are preparing for a massive influx of refugees from Albania.
Interior Minister Rosa Russo Jervolino said that humanitarian organisations had asked Italy to make available military transport vessels.
But, for the moment, Italian aid to the refugees is being channelled to Albania and Macedonia.