Tuesday, March 30, 1999 Published at 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK
UK spearheads airlift to Albania
The UK Government says refugees must eventually go home
The UK is spearheading aid efforts into Albania as aid workers in the Balkans struggle to cope with the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing Kosovo.
The RAF will also help airlift supplies from UNHCR warehouses elsewhere in Europe.
There will also be a donation of £500,000 to the Red Cross.
However, ministers insisted that refugees would not be brought to the UK because that would only be "giving in" to the so-called ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo.
But Italy and Switzerland have said they are preparing for an extra influx of refugees.
Up to 250,000 people have flooded into Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro which have called for aid for the refugees to be sent as soon as possible.
Japan is sending money and trucks and Greece is offering mobile hospitals.
The World Food Programme is taking care of supplying food, while non-governmental organisations are supplying medical aid.
More money needed
But more assistance is still desperately needed after a poor response to a the UNHCR's January appeal for donations from international governments.
"We can't manufacture aid out of thin air - we really need the governments' help," said a UNHCR spokeswoman.
The most difficult aspect of supplying aid was trying to anticipate the movements of the refugees in order to get supplies to them as quickly as possible.
"It's a brutal climate out there, and the longer it takes to get accommodation sorted, the more they suffer," she said.