DETAILS OF £2 m KOSOVO HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS APPROVED BY MINISTER O'DONNELL
Ms Liz O'Donnell, T.D., Minister of State for Foreign Affairs with special responsibility for Development Cooperation, today announced details of a £2 million package of grants to meet the emergency humanitarian needs of refugees fleeing from Kosovo.
"Following a meeting by Minister Andrews and myself last week with representatives of the Irish and international aid agencies to discuss their activities and operations on the ground, today's package will fund a rapid and coordinated response to the humanitarian challenge. Our priority is to alleviate the immediate suffering of the refugees by providing food, shelter and medicines in a coordinated and effective manner" said Minister O'Donnell
"The people affected by the Kosovo crisis, the majority of whom are women and children, have been uprooted several times in recent months. Today's grants will help ensure the survival of the displaced populations throughout the region by distributing food supplies, providing life saving drugs, carrying out vaccination programmes and ensuring a safe water supply to prevent the spread of disease. The Red Cross will also carry out a family tracing programme to help establish the whereabouts of missing persons. With refugees dispersed to various camps throughout the region, the number of families split up by the crisis is a problem of grave concern " said the Minister.
Minister O'Donnell today gave the following summary of the projects selected to address the crisis:
The primary focus of the humanitarian response is in Albania given the huge and growing number of refugees involved. Funding will be channelled through Trocaire, Goal, Concern and Christian Aid for a variety of emergency programmes to ease the plight of refugees and their host families."
Refugees and host families will be provided with emergency food items by Trocaire in partnership with the US agency- Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
In Montenegro, World Vision is involved in the distribution of essential emergency items, food parcels and in organising food kitchens. The Minister approved grant aid to assist in this emergency programme for approximately 30,000 refugees over a six month period.
In the face of urgent food and medical requirements, Minister O'Donnell announced grants to the Irish Red Cross, the World Food Programme and the United Nation's Children's Fund.