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News for the Week of June 15, 1998
June 15, 1998
Crisis Flares in Kosovo
Clashes between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Serbian police and military have sent upwards of 65,000 people fleeing toward Albania, Montenegro, and Bosnia. Among the 23,000 refugees who have arrived in Albania, thousands are expected to stay in private homes and others are being placed in collective centers. An MSF emergency team has traveled to northern Albania to establish a medical distribution center in cooperation with local authorities near the Kosovo border. The team will also create a water/sanitation program to prevent water-borne diseases among the refugee and local population and implement an epidemic surveillance system. The MSF team in Kosovo has been unable to gain access to the villages where most of the fighting is taking place, but the team is providing support to a local doctor who has reached one village where the health structures are no longer functioning. MSF volunteers have also visited private homes and refugee centers in Montenegro to assess the population's health care needs.
Southern Sudan Food Crisis Grows Worse
Nutritional data collected by MSF teams in the Bahr El Ghazal and Western Upper Nile provinces of southern Sudan continues to indicate the existence of an extremely serious food shortage. The crisis--the result of a poor harvest and Sudan's ongoing civil war, which has caused massive population displacements-has entered its third month. Sudan typically experiences a "hunger gap" in the summer, when the previous year's harvest runs out and the next crop is not yet ready. This year's 'gap' began early, and a delayed rainy season due to the El NiÃ±o climatic shifts may delay the planting of next year's crop.
Carol Devine, an MSF volunteer based in Nairobi visited a feeding center in Bahr El Ghazal. She gave this report on the situation that she found there: