Tuesday, July 27, 1999 Published at 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
Bank lowers bill for Kosovo reconstruction
Continuing arson attacks push up the reconstruction bill
The World Bank has estimated the cost of rebuilding Kosovo at $1.23 billion - considerably lower than previous estimates.
The Bank - working in collaboration with the EU's International Management Group (IMG) - has estimated the bill for repairing or rebuilding homes at $1.19 billion.
The total figure for reconstruction takes into account repairs to schools, health care facilities and electrical and water systems.
Twenty European Commission officials have spent the past six weeks visiting 1,300 Kosovo villages to assess the rebuilding requirements.
"We found 78,000 houses that are beyond repair or destroyed," Roy Dickinson of the EC in Pristina told BBC World.
"The EU has said all along that it's a European problem and we are ready to bear the major share of the burden," Mr Dickinson said, adding that Europe needed help from other countries and institutions.
"It's the political will of donors that's going to count if we're going to get people through this winter," he said.
'Zero economic activity'
But Mr O'Sullivan warned that the World Bank's new, lower figure does not take into account lost production during the 16 months of conflict.
But the Bank agrees with aid agencies that short-term humanitarian assistance is needed badly - between $40m and $75m over the next couple of months for housing and other urgent needs.
The Bank's President, James Wolfensohn - who has been visiting the province ahead of this week's donor meetings - has said that money given now to prepare for winter would be "worth 10 times as much as in a year's time".
"The issue that particularly concentrated our attention was the need for urgent funds to run the administration in Kosovo, given the fact that there are no tax revenues as yet," Mr O'Sullivan said.
The World Bank and the EU are co-chairing an international donor conference to co-ordinate the Kosovo effort in Brussels on Wednesday.
That is to be followed by a second "donor summit" - involving more than 100 nations, international lenders and NGOs - in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, on Friday.