MINISTER O'DONNELL APPROVES OVER 1 MILLION POUNDS IN NEW GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE FOR KOSOVO
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms Liz O'Donnell, T.D., today announced a new package of humanitarian assistance to those most affected by the crisis in Kosovo.The funds, totalling £1.1 million, brings the total amount of humanitarian assistance given to the region by the Government since the crisis began to £3.7 million. The UNHCR will receive £500,000 and UNICEF, ICRC and the IOM the bulk of the rest of the funding.
"The speed of spontaneous return by the refugees since the political settlement was agreed has taken everyone by surprise. Over 200,000 refugees have returned already from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia despite the atrocities they have suffered and the challenges which face them. Many are going back without knowing if their houses are still standing or if their relatives are still alive. The package of assistance which has just been agreed will support the international humanitarian agencies to carry out their mandates to protect and provide emergency assistance to the returnees and to those remaining in the neighbouring countries.
The Government is committed to playing its part with the rest of the international community to ensure that adequate food and shelter and basic health care are provided in the short term particularly through the harsh Balkan winter. The main reconstruction effort will commence in the Spring." Minister O'Donnell said.
Note for Editors:
UN High Commission for Refugees: £500,000
UNHCR is the lead agency coordinating the international response as well as carrying out its own mandate regarding of protection of refugees and the effective delivery of relief.
UN Children's Fund: £200,000
UNICEF has a particular focus on children and is tasked with meeting the basic education needs of the children in the camps and with helping with the re-establishment of schools in Kosovo.
International Committee of the Red Cross: £200,000
ICRC's priorities for the coming months include obtaining access to detained persons, restoring contact with families, facilitating release and transfer; reuniting dispersed families; assisting families of those who remain unaccounted for, who have been detained or killed; helping protect minorities from actions of reprisal and promoting landmine awareness.
International Organisation for Migration: £100,000
IOM manages the transportation of returnees and assists governments with the return of persons evacuated under the Humanitarian Evacuation Programme.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: £100,000
UNOCHA is charged by the international community with the coordination of humanitarian affairs. It was set up as part of the UN reform process and strongly supported by Ireland as essential to promoting the coordination and cooperation needed for the efficient and effective delivery humanitarian assistance.