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Sunday, April 25, 1999 Published at 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK

World: Europe

Life in the shadow of the strikes

People getting used to night after night of raids

By Jacky Rowland in Belgrade

Ordinary people are feeling the effects of Nato's efforts to cut off fuel supplies to the Yugoslav army.

Kosovo: Special Report
Petrol is rationed and many people cannot get by on the 40 litres a month they are entitled to.

They end up going to black market dealers who sell fuel at three or four times the official price.

It is not only petrol that is in short supply. Some shopkeepers have reported panic buying as people search for basic goods like oil and sugar.

Cigarettes are particularly hard to come by since Nato bombs have destroyed or damaged a number of tobacco factories.

Routine of air strikes

[ image: Safe from harm: Another night in the bomb shelters]
Safe from harm: Another night in the bomb shelters
According to official estimates, more than 500 people have been killed, while billions of dollars of damage have been done to the country's infrastructure.

Beyond the statistics, people are doing their best to carry on with their normal lives despite the far from normal situation.

For many people in Belgrade the air strikes are becoming a routine. People continue to drive or walk around town even when the air raid sirens are howling.

In the early days of the bombing campaign bars and cafes would empty in the early evening but now many cafe owners report business as usual.

The people of Yugoslavia are used to hardship. They have been living under economic sanctions for almost 10 years.

Most people here see the air strikes as brutal and random but they are determined not to let the bombing disrupt their everyday lives.

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