March 29, 1999

Last Medical Team Withdraws to Belgrade

Brussels/New York, March 30, 1999 — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) yesterday made the decision to leave Kosovo. The last team of three members has withdrawn to Belgrade due to the deteriorating security situation in Pristina, where they were based. Increasing hostility toward foreigners made any humanitarian work impossible. The MSF stocks in warehouses north of Pristina and in the western city of Pec are reported to have been looted. No humanitarian organization is now left working in Kosovo.

Although the team in Pristina was not able to travel outside of Pristina to assess the situation, it was clear from reports that violence in the province had increased. MSF continues to be present in Yugoslavia; teams are currently conducting needs assessments in Montenegro, as well as in neighboring Macedonia. A team of eight international aid workers is preparing to begin aiding the refugees in Albania, and a full charter of supplies has been sent. Health care needs already identified include treatment for foot injuries incurred on the long journey from Kosovo, water and sanitation supplies, blankets, and nutritional supplements. MSF will seek to return to Kosovo as soon as possible.