UNHCR's shelter rehabilitation program is now getting into full swing, with 5800 basic shelter kits distributed so far. These kits are designed to provide enough material to allow homeowners to temporarily weatherproof one room in their house before winter. The kits contain reinforced, heavy-duty plastic sheeting for roof repairs, as well as translucent plastic to cover broken windows. You saw same stuff all over Bosnia during and after the war there. The kits also include timber, plywood, nails, staples, tape and tools. Since mid-June, UNHCR has delivered more than 750 truckloads of aid to Kosova, much of it shelter material.

"Obviously, these materials are not meant to provide total reconstruction of a home. They are not meant as a permanent solution, but only as a temporary measure to get people through this first difficult winter. Our distribution partners, however, are reporting that many Kosovars have very high expectations, assuming that UNHCR is going to provide enough material to totally rebuild their homes. We’ve even heard of some cases where homeowners have turned down shelter kits, fearing they would be ineligible should a more substantial rebuilding package come later.

We want to stress to everyone that these kits may be the only help they receive before the onset of winter and they should make the best possible use of the materials in fixing one warm and weatherproof room. UNHCR is not a reconstruction agency — we do emergency relief, assistance and some rehabilitation to ensure that refugee returns are sustainable. Reconstruction and long-term development are done by others.

UNHCR is handling only a third or less of the total provision of shelter kits. We’re providing 16000 basic shelter kits and another 4400 roofing kits, which are being distributed according to several criteria. Other organizations are providing kits including ECHO and OFDA of the United States. ECHO is providing 20000 basic kits, while OFDA is contributing 19300. In all, the kits from the three agencies will benefit an estimated 387000 people. That should be enough for the estimated population living in what we call Category 3 and 4 housing-damage ranging from20 to 60 percent. At least four other organizations have pledged kits or prefab houses, bringing the total number to more than 75000 kits.

There are also an estimated 47000 non-repairable homes. To help people from those houses, we are implementing a program of assistance to host families to encourage them to take in the homeless for the winter. We know that this works because most refugees in surrounding countries stayed with host families, not in refugee camps. For those who have nowhere else to go, we are also identifying temporary community shelters that we can use as a least resort this winter", says Ron Redmond.



After the return of the people in Kosova, the Children Vaccination Service has started the vaccination of all children until the age of 5 in all health institutes in Prishtina. This will enable children prevention from infection diseases such as tuberculosis, child paralysis, rubella etc.

The services are offered during the whole working hours in Prishtina ambulances and hospitals. Vaccination stations are set also in Prishtina surroundings in areas such as Obiliq, Besi, Fushe-Kosove, Grachanica, Barileva, Mramor , Bardh I Madh, Slivova etc.

The Children Vaccination service takes care about 40 up to 50 persons every day. Since their work started they have vaccinated around 1500 children.

But the real vaccination action for the children of this age will start in the month of September. The vaccination for season diseases such as the flue will start in October and finish during January and February next year.

This Service receives help in medicine from international organizations such as UNICEF, IMC, MDM and MSF.

The doctors ask parents of the children who are until five years old to bring them for vaccination.



After nine years the students of Prishtina University returned to the dormitories. Since the first day, the Directorate of the Student Center has made efforts and took all necessary measures to adapt the objects so the students can start living in them. The return of the students marks a turning point in Prishtina life because the city looked empty when they were not there. The Director of the Student Center Ismet Jashanica says that at this moment there are 2700 students staying in Prishtina dormitories. They are having problems with the water and electricity supply. "There are no enough living conditions but we are fulfilling the basic students’ needs. At the moment we are contacting some donors that are interested in providing food for the students, considering the fact that the food sold in local shops is too expensive for them. We are ready to open our kitchen as of today if only we had food", says Jashanica.




One of the things that bothers Kosovars most are the mines placed in almost every region of Kosova. In order to eliminate mine risk UNMIK has prepared a program for minesweeping that would be realized through the Coordination Center (MACC).The MACC manager John Flannagan says that the realization of this program began since the first refugees rushed back home. The purpose of this program is to secure safe environment for those who return.

When asked in which regions of Kosova they operate he said that MACC and 16 other organizations are working in every Kosova municipality. The teams are located in bigger cities, but there are ready to operate everywhere." We can say that we know where the mines are placed. We know that the western regions, Peja, Gjakova, Dechan and the border with Albania have lots of mines. The border with Macedonia, The central part of Kosova from Prishtina to Ferizaj is also full with mine fields. We are trying to discover the exact locations as soon as we can. We have a good cooperation with the "Hello Trust" organization, which supervises the situation in the villages. They talk with the villagers and ask them if they have any information, if fights occurred in their neighborhood or if there was NATO bombing in their area", says Flannagan.

Most of the explosives planted in Kosova are similar to those found in Bosnia. A large number of anti-tank and anti-personal mines exist. The anti-personal mines are of PMA type. The teams have difficulties in finding PMA3 mines, which contain a very small amount of metal, so they need more sophisticated detection equipment., stressed Flannagan.

For the mine accidents that occurred until now, Flannagan declared that for the past two months since the refugees began returning home 122 mine accidents occurred, killing or wounding 170 persons. The first three days of the refugees’ return were the hardest, because lots of them were not informed about the dangerous areas. 97 accidents happened during the first month. The number of the accidents is decreasing thanks to the proper mine awareness information. He is concerned with the fact that the winter is approaching so there is possibility for all those who go to get heating wood from the forests expose themselves to mines.

The MACC manager asks the Kosova population to cooperate with this organization and get information about mines and their location. If they see or suspect that there are mines somewhere they should immediately inform KFOR soldiers and not touch the mines or the signs that mark minefields.




The Soros Foundation has many plans for the future of Kosova, especially in the education field. Luan Shllaku, the director of this foundation in Kosova says: "Two or three important things happened in our foundation during this period. The first thing is that since we were forced to live Prishtina, we were fortunate to rejoin in Macedonia and continue our activities in cooperation with our sister-foundation in Macedonia. I can say that we were very lucky that the Soros Foundation net responded very quickly to the new situation and helped us in overcoming the big problems that Kosova refugees were facing in Macedonia. In March and April we realized many programs mainly involving the refugees. Another important moment was when Mr. George Soros, who supports all these foundations, decided that the Prishtina Foundation should be independent from now on, because before it was one of the branches of the Belgrade Foundation".

This foundation was engaged in finding and publishing of school textbooks for the pupils that will soon start the school year. Shllaku says that UNICEF is doing a wonderful job in coordinating all initiatives for the reconstructing of the school buildings and in finding solutions for buildings that can not be reconstructed in a short-term period. The Soros Foundation has an opinion that there are conditions for preparing school books and has taken the coordination of all initiatives in this direction so the four million books would be printed as soon as possible.

"Fortunately we had good support from the foundations in New York and Budapest. We will soon engage most of the publishing houses in Kosova together with the Education Institute to start printing and I hope that the books will be in the pupils’ hands in time", says Shllaku.

This foundation has another short—term program. It is about the coordination of the activities for the restart of the pre-school education in 32 institutes of this kind in Kosova. Some of them already started their work.



The Special Institute for Retarded Persons in Shtime, thanks to the help from several humanitarian organizations, is now in a little bit better position than it was before, even though it is facing lack of professional staff, especially doctors. Order came back in this institute, and the peace and hygiene are at a satisfactory level. Plates with the names of different organizations are all over this institute, which shows their presence there. They help by donating food, clothes and medicine. Lirie Bytychi, the main sister in this Institute says: "We don’t have doctors and a director. At the moment we are four sisters working here. We have received aid from Handicapp International, World Pharmacists, Doctors Sans Frontiers and the Red Cross of Norway who promised to bring us an ambulance . Since we lack doctors of all profiles, especially psychiatrists, I would ask all doctors wherever they are to come and help us because somebody should take care of these people".



The medical protection in Gjilan municipality is improving every day. Until know 488 medical workers have returned, including 38 specialists and 44 general practice doctors. 600 patients ask for help every day. The Gjilan Hospital takes care for about 385 sick at the moment. Great efforts have been mate to create working conditions in the medical stations most of which have been damaged during the conflict.



In this period in lots of villages and cities in Kosova the inhabitants together with KFOR forces have started the reconstruction of schools and support objects. A considerable number of them are enabled for the school year start. In some places tents have been brought, so they can be used as schools for the time being. Besides this the necessary inventory is being brought to the schools. The Canadian KFOR forces have offered concrete help for the primary school "Arif Shala" from the village of Koretica e Poshtme near Glogoc. The Red Cross of Great Britain is engaged in constructing of schools in Terstenik and Nekoc in the same region. It is expected that the reconstruction will finish before the school year starts.




Ferizaj with its surroundings has 127000 inhabitants, 50 percent of which are living in the city. This municipality has 47 villages organized in 11 local communities. 97076 people returned to Ferizaj so far.

Considering the fact that Ferizaj is bordering less developed municipalities, as Kachanik, Shtrpce, Vitia and Lipjane are, the interest in sheltering of the population in Ferizaj is very high.

Lately there are lots of refugees coming from Presheva, Bujanovc and Medvegja region because of the pressure that the Serb regime does on them. In the beginning of the conflict the situation in Ferizaj was very hard because lots of local inhabitants were forced to live this area mainly to Macedonia and Albania. According to the Municipal Council of the city of Ferizaj, this city had 70 killed, 24 wounded and 22 imprisoned citizens who are still in Serbs’ jails. According to the analysis done so far, 1150 houses were burned and 475 of them were totally or partially destroyed during the conflict.

After peace keepers came, the main goal for the citizens of Ferizaj was reestablishing of the local authority so they could sooner finish the registration of the damage, the organization of the sheltering and the organization of the economic, cultural, educational and scientific activities.

Since the population returned sooner than it was expected lots of difficulties occurred, especially in providing elementary living material, says the Mayor of Ferizaj. When food providing is considered the situation is not as it was expected to be. Several difficulties, like the high transit taxes in Macedonia resulted with lack of food and medication in Kosova. The non-secure environment is something all Ferizaj citizen worry about. KFOR soldiers can not cope with the situation so the forming of police forces is urgently needed.

The disrespect of the traffic rules and the damaged roads create problems in the traffic. Lots of cars that are coming from foreign countries are also a part of this problem.

Problems appear in the water and the electricity supply, but thanks to the help from several organizations citizens are hoping that these problems will soon be solved.

Mine fields also represent risk for this area. Six persons lost their lives from mines until now. Local UCK forces and KFOR forces in cooperation with other organizations that are working in this field have already found the main mine locations and are working on their sweeping.




Avdi Podgorica, a social worker in the social center of Prishtina asks all the donors to help the parentless children. The center for social work in Prishtina in its appeal says: " We appeal to all those who can offer sheltering conditions to come to our offices or dial 534712, so they could help in sheltering 24 parentless children, all aged between three and eleven months, because they can no longer stay in Prishtina Hospital. This will be a temporary solution before the final one is found. This is the only way we can take care for this children and we thank in advance all those that will be so kind and help us in solving this problem."