Albania: relocation picks up steam

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

An estimated 400 refugees arrived in northern Albania Thursday despite a flare-up in fighting in the border area. UNHCR staff pulled back from the border because of the fighting. Our staff heard outgoing artillery fire from the immediate vicinity of Kukes which has a large refugee concentration. The firing was apparently part of a military exercise which was supposed to continue Friday. UNHCR is very concerned that this could draw incoming artillery fire from the Serb side with disastrous effects for the refugees.

The group arriving Thursday included 165 former prisoners from Smrekovnica, which brings total of former prisoners who arrived in Albania to 1,700.

Relocation with NATO trucks is picking up steam. Today a total of 542 have left: On Thursday, a total of 2017 people left the Kukes area which, needless to say, is becoming more and more hazardous by the day.