The UN seeks US$18 million to help the victims of Kosovo fighting
The UN's key humanitarian agencies today said they urgently needed funds to help tens of thousands of people driven from their homes by the conflict in Kosovo, as well as to support the local communities which host them.
Relief officials braving logistical and security problems in the poorest corner of the Balkans, have been working round the clock to help refugees and displaced people in northern Albania, Montenegro and in Kosovo itself.
In a joint funding appeal, six UN agencies (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Children's Fund, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, the UN Development Programme and the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) said they also needed funds to prepare for possible new waves of refugees.
"While we hope for a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo crisis, we must be ready for even a larger number of refugees ," said Sadako Ogata, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose organization leads the Kosovo relief effort.
In an appeal sent to donors on Tuesday, the UN asked for a total of US$ 18 million, with UNHCR seeking US$ 12.9 million.
The appeal listed urgent needs in three countries: Albania, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, underlining the regional nature of the crisis.