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Saturday, July 10, 1999 Published at 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK


Trauma help for Kosovo

Local doctors are themselves traumatised by the grief they see

A British academic is flying to the Kosovan capital Pristina on Monday to help local doctors deal with the emotional damage caused by the recent conflict.

Kosovo Section
Dr Del Loewenthal, a senior lecturer in counselling and psychotherapy at the University of Surrey, will work with 20 doctors for a week. He will be flown from Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire by the RAF.

He said the aim was to help local doctors do the work themselves, instead of having to rely on outside aid.

"It is very important to see what can be done now on an individual and community basis," he said.

"Doctors treating patients all find it difficult to cope with all these horrendous stories so I'll be providing advice and support for them so they don't burn out."

[ image: The chance to talk could end the cycle of revenge]
The chance to talk could end the cycle of revenge
Giving Kosovans the chance to talk about their loss and shock would lessen the chance of them retaliating, and help break the cycle of revenge, he said.

"If people can relate their experiences, then eventually they will be able to come to terms with what has happened to them," he said.

Funding for the initial stage has been given by the Department of International Development, with charities working in Kosovo also involved.

Another move to bring relief to the people of Kosovo is the creation of a mine-free zone.

It is the first site of its kind, and will be opened on Monday by Save the Children at the Abdyl Ferashi primary school in Prizren.

The zone has been officially cleared and checked by K-For, the international peacekeeping force deployed in Kosovo, and will be supplied with educational and recreational equipment.

Kosovo: Special Report
Steve Rifkin, programme director for the charity in Kosovo, said: "Children in Kosovo, as anywhere else in the world, need a safe and secure environment in which to play, learn and follow their naturally curious instincts.

"The recent conflict has severely disrupted their lives. Children have a right to a secure, danger-free environment.

"Save the Children is aiming to provide this with designated safe zones within communities."

The charity hopes to create more safe zones for children in the coming months.

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