January 25, 1999
Aiding Newly Displaced Villagers in Kosovo
Following the killing of 45 ethnic Albanians in Racak, Kosovo, last week, MSF sent a mobile team to investigate the situation in the village. Almost all of the 1,500 inhabitants of Racak had fled their homes for the mountains or neighboring villages. Villagers reported that a local doctor was caring for 15 wounded individuals in the mountains. The following day, MSF sent out two four-ton trucks with relief items (including emergency food supplies, plastic sheeting, blankets, and clothing) for the displaced villagers. MSF is continuing to carry out its regular mobile clinics in Kosovo but is worried that growing tensions in the province will increase the number of displaced people living without shelter in the snow and cold.
Fighting Cholera in Mozambique
Between September 18, 1998, and the first week of January 1999, 19,000 cases of cholera were reported in eight provinces of Mozambique. Four northern provinces (Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Zambezia, and Nampula) have been especially hard hit. MSF is working in conjunction with the Mozambique Ministry of Health to contain the outbreak. Forty MSF international volunteers have been deployed to five provinces and eight MSF emergency cholera kits distributed. In addition, MSF is setting up a data collection process, and supplying oral rehydration fluids, drinkable water, and disinfection equipment.
Facing Risks in Sierra Leone
MSF international volunteers were forced to leave all regions of Sierra Leone, except for Kambia, due to heavy fighting in Sierra Leone between rebels from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the West African peacekeeping force, ECOMOG. MSF remains in radio contact with the Sierra Leonean staff of programs in Freetown and other regions of Sierra Leone where fighting continues. Three international volunteers who live just over the border in neighboring Guinea continue to run a feeding and water/sanitation program in Kambia. A therapeutic feeding center in Kambia where 30 children are being treated has been temporarily transferred to a school north of the town, for fear of advancing rebels. Last week, MSF teams vaccinated 2,000 children in Kambia against measles and set up a diarrhea isolation tent after 50 serious cases were found in the region. Since the coup d'état in May 1997, MSF has been running a surgical program at Connaught Hospital in the capital of Freetown, and has been providing support to clinics and hospitals in Bo, Bonthe, and Pujehun in south and southeastern Sierra Leone. The teams are currently on stand-by in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and plan to return to their projects as soon as the security situation improves.
A New Year's Surprise for Children in Kosovo
Mimoza Kusari, a national staff member in the office of MSF in Pristina, Kosovo, wanted to do something special for as many children displaced by last year's violence as possible during the holidays. So she started phoning all the non-governmental organizations working in Kosovo and managed to collect nearly $1,200 in private donations from their staff members. With the money, Mimoza bought enough cookies to fill 500 gift bags to hand out to children on New Year's Day. MSF also donated 210 sets of children's clothing to the initiative.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)