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Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 23:14 GMT 00:14 UK


World: Europe

The great scattering of refugees

In one camp alone more than 100 children are missing their parents

By BBC Correspondent Fergal Keane

Every daylight hour, the great scattering continues.

Kosovo: Special Report
Refugees set out from camps such as Brazda in Macedonia on journeys that will take them all over the world.

Many of those queuing up to leave have been separated from their loved ones. Thousands of families have been split up.

Children have become lost in the chaotic flight out of Kosovo.


Fergal Keane: With expulsions continuing there will be no let up in the problem of separated families
It is estimated that 630,000 refugees have fled Kosovo since the crisis began. The scale of loss here is incalculable.

Tracing families

At the tracing centre for missing persons they are starting a process to try and reunite some families.


[ image: Save the Children have begun trying to reunite families]
Save the Children have begun trying to reunite families
Here, names, addresses, ages are all noted down.

The British charity Save The Children help to run the centre.

Experienced aid workers are shocked at what they have encountered.

Christine Gale says: "It is very difficult to see the human suffering and the misery and the feelings of humiliation."

One three-year-old boy has no idea where his parents are.

"He's been here since the first day," said Ms Gale, "and now we have taken all the details of his parents and are trying to trace them."

He is being looked after by a distant relative.

"He was lost when he was put on the train by the police. He is very worried. He misses his mother and father a great deal," said the relative.

Human tragedy

Just as aid workers registered one group of refugees, another arrived.


[ image: Photos are displayed of missing children]
Photos are displayed of missing children
A group of 400 people arrived in the camp after being driven out of Kosovo this morning.

It is not known how many of these people have been separated from their loved ones. This is a human tragedy on a vast scale.

With expulsions like these continuing, there will be no let-up in the problem of separated families and lost children.

Aid agencies say it could be months, or longer before many of these people are reunited with their loved ones.



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