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Wednesday, March 31, 1999 Published at 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK

World: Europe

Serb Red Cross appeals for aid

The appeal says Nato air strikes hit homes, schools and churches

The Serbian Red Cross has launched an international appeal for humanitarian aid to alleviate the effects of six days of Nato air strikes, according to a report from the official Yugoslav state news agency, Tanjug.

Kosovo: Special Report
The appeal was addressed to Serbs abroad, humanitarian organisations and "all people of good will who have been expressing their solidarity since the outset of the aggression" to provide whatever help they can.

The call for aid came as international efforts to help the thousands of Albanians fleeing over the border from Kosovo were stepped up, with the first batch of aid supplies arriving in the Albanian capital, Tirana.

[ image: International efforts to help refugees have been stepped up]
International efforts to help refugees have been stepped up
The Serbian Red Cross appeal said the toll of dead and injured from the Nato bombing was growing every day, and that there was a mass exodus of the population from the worst-hit areas.

The Nato air attacks directed against military targets had also hit residential apartment buildings, refugee camps, factories, schools, churches and the Red Cross headquarters itself in Kosovo, said the appeal.

Stocks of food and medicines were no longer sufficient and the humanitarian situation was growing more serious by the hour since all the international humanitarian organisations apart from the International Committee of the Red Cross had left the country, it said.

The appeal said many supplies were urgently needed including milk, baby food, blankets, numerous foodstuffs and candles.

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