Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


The BBC's Jacky Rowland
"The situation has worsened since the NATO bombing campaign"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 16:54 GMT
UN warns of Serbia food crisis

Serb refugees Serb refugees are among those who the UN will help


The United Nations is stepping up aid to Serbia, saying food shortages there are comparable to those in North Korea.

The UN World Food Programme is planning to help the 10% of the Serbian population it says is facing serious humanitarian problems.

The WFP says it will provide food for 890,000 people, about 330,000 more than last year.

"I would not say it is a humanitarian catastrophe, but I would say that the situation is very, very serious, and it is getting more serious," said Robert Hauser, emergency co-ordinator of the WFP in Belgrade.



I know that Yugoslavia does not want to be compared with it, but the comparable situation is North Korea
Robert Hauser

Poverty in Serbia has increased significantly over the last decade as a result of the Yugoslav conflict and UN economic sanctions.

The WFP's planned programme for Serbia, costing $92.5m, will involve the distribution of 145,000 tonnes of wheat, sugar and other food items to poor people such as pensioners, the disabled and refugees.

Coping mechanism

Some 337,000 Serb refugees from the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the mid-1990s remain in Serbia. And up to 240,000 Serbs fled the southern province of Kosovo after the deployment of Nato troops in June.

"If you look at the people now - the poor people, the ones who have lost their jobs, the pensioners, the unemployed - you really have to ask yourself: why are they not dead yet?" Mr Hauser said.

"So they must have some kind of a coping mechanism that keeps them alive, but it doesn't mean that it is a pleasant life," he added.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Europe Contents

Country profiles

See also:
07 Dec 99 |  Europe
Analysis: EU pressures Serbia
03 Dec 99 |  Europe
EU abandons oil convoy
27 Nov 99 |  Europe
Urgent aid for refugees in Serbia

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories