Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, April 1, 1999 Published at 00:19 GMT 01:19 UK


World: Europe

Kosovo refugees face starvation

A camp inTirana houses some of the thousands who fled


 Click here for live coverage on the crisis
Click here for map showing refugee movements


Kosovo: Special Report
As the international effort to organise emergency aid for Kosovo refugees is stepped up, the United Nations is warning that civilians in the province could face starvation within 10 days.

The head of the UN World Food Programme, Catherine Bertini, said her organisation had no way of reaching them, and air drops had been rejected as too dangerous.

Nato says tens of thousands of people in Kosovo are living in the woods and hills, with no access to food or water.


[ image: A-10 Thunderbolt ready for action at Aviano air base in Italy]
A-10 Thunderbolt ready for action at Aviano air base in Italy
As the refugee crisis inside and outside Kosovo continues to escalate, the UK Defence Secretary George Robertson underlined Nato's determination to intensify air attacks on Yugoslavia.

Nato says it will target Serb tanks and troop concentrations in particular, but that nowhere in the country is immune.

The headquarters of the elite Serbian special forces in Belgrade is among the targets reported struck.

Nato air strikes have been reported near Kosovo's capital, Pristina. Serbian news reports said five explosions were heard from the direction of the airport and Gracanica, and a further two were heard at 2300 local time (2100 GMT).


The BBC's Ben Brown: Refugee faces tell tales of trauma and despair
Nato decided to widen the range of sites to be attacked after rejecting a conditional peace plan by Yugoslav President Milosevic.

Mr Robertson said Mr Milosevic must meet three conditions to bring about an end to the attacks:

  • An immediate and permanent end to the killing in Kosovo
  • The verified withdrawal of Serb forces
  • A political settlement allowing refugees to return home

Russian warships

Russia is preparing to send warships to the Mediterranean to monitor developments in Yugoslavia. It says a reconnaissance ship will set off on Friday, with six more due to follow.


Milograd Popovic, Serbian Deputy Minister of Information: "The refugees are fleeing the bombs"
Moscow has accused the United States of preparing to send ground troops into Kosovo. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia had reliable information that Washington was considering a plan to let Kosovo break away from Yugoslavia, or to divide up the province.

But the US condemned Russia's decision to send warships to the Mediterranean. The State Department said Moscow's plans were not helpful and expressed concern about the kind of signal this would send to Yugoslavia and other countries in the region.


[ image: Serbs say factories, apartment buildings and schools have been hit]
Serbs say factories, apartment buildings and schools have been hit
The Serbian Red Cross has launched an appeal of its own to help victims of the Nato air strikes. It said apartment buildings, refugee camps, and schools had been hit.

BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson, who is one of the few western journalists still in Belgrade, said there had been no official reaction to Nato's rejection of President Milosevic's peace deal on Tuesday.

He said there appeared to be relatively few casualties in the city's hospitals but they seemed to be preparing for more.

Pristina 'being cleared'


John Simpson reports from Belgrade (report vetted by Serb censors)
Nato says Kosovo Albanians are now being forcibly expelled from the provincial capital, Pristina.

Nato spokesman Jamie Shea said that, according to reports from refugees reaching the borders, the town of Orahovac in the south-west of the province was also being cleared of its population.


[ image: Albania has taken the largest number of Kosovo refugees]
Albania has taken the largest number of Kosovo refugees
Nato accused Yugoslav authorities of trying to eliminate the identities of Kosovo Albanians driven out of the province, by stripping people of their personal papers and destroying public records and archives.

Mr Shea said the Yugoslavs were destroying the property deeds, birth certificates, marriage licences and financial and other records of Kosovo Albanians

Emergency aid

As the refugee crisis deepens, US President Bill Clinton has authorised $50m in emergency relief.


The BBC's Nicholas Witchell looks at the day's military and diplomatic developments
Half will be sent to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the rest will pay for shelter and food.

French President Jacques Chirac called for an urgent European Union meeting to organise emergency aid for Kosovo.

The first British aid flight has arrived in the Albanian capital, Tirana, carrying tents and bedding for the thousands of refugees currently living in camps there.

A total of 125,000 people have fled Kosovo since Nato bombings began last week, the UNHCR says.

According to the refugee agency's latest figures, 85,500 of them have gone to Albania. On Tuesday, refugees were crossing the border at a rate of up to 2,000-3,000 an hour.


[ image:  ]





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

31 Mar 99 | Europe
Kosovo Albanian leader 'alive and well'

31 Mar 99 | UK
UK: Nato is not going away

31 Mar 99 | Europe
Fleeing Kosovo: Images of the refugee crisis

31 Mar 99 | Europe
Arkan wanted by UN tribunal

31 Mar 99 | Monitoring
Serbia limits news of bomb damage

31 Mar 99 | Europe
Nato: 'Iraq helped Serbs'

31 Mar 99 | Europe
Pope to send delegation to Belgrade

31 Mar 99 | Sci/Tech
Nato under 'cyber attack'

31 Mar 99 | UK
'No place to hide' for Milosevic

30 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Ground troops: Why Nato says no

31 Mar 99 | Europe
Press review: Europe unimpressed by peace efforts

30 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Analysis: Will the conflict spread?

31 Mar 99 | UK
Weather plagues Harrier raids

30 Mar 99 | Kosovo
Analysis: Will the conflict spread?





Internet Links


Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Nato

Serbian Ministry of Information

Kosova Press

OSCE

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

International Crisis Group


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift