Tuesday, April 6, 1999 Published at 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Refugee airlift takes off
Refugees are fearing a permanent split from their families
Click here for a map of the refugee bottleneck on Kosovo-Macedonian border
The operation to airlift Kosovo-Albanian refugees to temporary shelter outside the region has begun in earnest.
More than 1,000 exhausted refugees - many wearing mud-covered shoes and carrying very few belongings - left the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Monday for Turkey and Norway.
But many of the refugees bused to the airport said they did not want to go and feared being permanently split from their families.
Some of them sobbed uncontrollably. One man tried to run out of the airport but police dragged him back.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR has distanced itself from the scenes in Macedonia, saying it is not party to any forced evacuation.
As the airlifts continue, tens of thousands of refugees still trying to enter Macedonia are waiting without food and shelter to cross the border.
'Cork out of the bottle'
In the words of a senior American diplomat in Macedonia, the operation to airlift the refugees has "removed the cork out of the bottle".
Nato has stressed that while the goal is for the refugees to return to their homes in Kosovo, the alliance wants to take pressure off neighbouring states by providing temporary homes elsewhere.
Nato accuses Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of deliberately trying to destabilise surrounding countries with a flood of refugees. Yugoslav troops are accused of a systematic campaign of forced expulsions.
"Albania doesn't want to be part of Milosevic's ethnic cleansing mechanism," Information Minister Musa Ulqini said.
Aid workers say there are still long queues waiting to get into Macedonia and people are dying.
Tens of thousands of refugees are living sheltered by plastic and blankets in a makeshift camp at border area of Blace, where they wait to enter Macedonia.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the refugees have told of a 25km queue of people waiting to get at the border-crossing of Jazince.
"What the arrivals indicate is that there may be 50,000 coming in coming days," UNHCR spokeswoman Paula Ghedini said.
"We must ensure no more obstacles are put in their way ... otherwise there will be an outbreak of disease and a real risk that large numbers will die," Ms Short said.
Albania keeps all refugees
Albania, in contrast, is keeping all the refugees that have arrived from Kosovoo refugees.
In a massive influx within the last 24 hours, about 40,000 people have crossed the Albanian border.
The UNHCR says the number of people who had fled Kosovo since 24 March, when Nato began bombing Yugoslavia, is now more than 400,000, with
UN crisis meeting
As the crisis escalates, the United Nations is holding a meeting of 56 countries in Geneva to try to co-ordinate the relief effort.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata accused Yugoslav authorities of attempting to destroy Kosovo's collective identity by forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee.
"Solutions, for the overwhelming majority, means returning to their homes as soon as possible," she said.
Yugoslavia's UN ambassador again insisted that the exodus was caused by Nato bombing.