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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK

World: Europe

BBC launches refugee radio link

The Albanian Service's output has doubled since the conflict began

Listen to Albanian link programme

Kosovo: Special Report
The BBC World Service is launching a series of regular broadcasts aimed at reuniting the dispersed families of Kosovo refugees, who are continuing to flood into neighbouring Albania and Macedonia.

The BBC's Albanian Service, the most listened to radio station in Albania and Macedonia, is to provide a radio link for the estimated 500,000 refugees from the Yugoslav province in two, weekday, FM broadcasts to Tirana and Skopje.

Lucy Atherton reports: "It is the most listened to radio station in Albania and Macedonia"
Until now, families dispersed by the Kosovo conflict have had few means of finding their relatives, relying mainly on messages left on noticeboards in refugee camps.

The Albanian Service will use information supplied by the Red Cross - providing the names and whereabouts only of those known to be safe.

[ image: Relatives have relied on messages left in refugee camps]
Relatives have relied on messages left in refugee camps
"Obviously they are the ones who are pressing whoever is near them to get any radio of telephone link and to make possible their dreams and expectations," says Genc Lamani of the Albanian Service.

The United States, for its part, has said it will equip refugee camps with cellular telephones and Internet connections to help the refugees find their families.

The Albanian Service has doubled its output since the the conflict began. Its two weekday broadcasts can be heard on 103.9FM in Tirana and 104.7FM in Skopje between Monday and Friday from 1015 to 1030 GMT.

The programme will be repeated on the same day between 1330 and 1345 GMT.

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