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1999 NCC News Archives

Latest in NCC's Kosovo Response Includes
Shipments of Baby Formula to Refugee Camp,
Plans for U.S. Refugee Resettlement

Related Web Pages:
Church World Service Staffer Gives First-Hand Report of Refugee Crisis in Bosnia

Church World Service Hotline
To Make a Contribution for Kosovo Aid
Church World Service Emergency Response - Europe
Interaction Index to Humanitarian Agency Response
NCC Calls for All-Sides Kosovo Cease-Fire Eastern Orthodox Weekend April 9-12
Earlier News Release on CWS Response

To help, contact Church World Service, Attn. Kosovo Crisis, 28606 Phillips Street, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Phone: (800) 297-1516, ext. 222.

Thirty-five Protestant and Orthodox communions work together through Church World Service – a ministry of the National Council of Churches – to meet human need in more than 80 countries including the United States.

April 29, 1999, NEW YORK -- As a delegation of religious leaders heads off to Belgrade co-led by the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, National Council of Churches (NCC) General Secretary, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NCC's humanitarian response arm continues to respond to the needs of refugees and other victims affected by the violence in the region.

As part of a $1.8 million response to date, Church World Service has sent more than 22,000 "Gifts of the Heart" recovery kits to be distributed by the CWS Bosnia office. This shipment, valued at $318,555, includes 10,000 health kits, 6,230 school kits, 5,000 sewing kits, 1,065 baby kits, and medicine and medicinal supplies.

Through Diaconia Agape, a local church agency in Albania, CWS is providing more than 27,500 pounds of locally purchased baby formula, baby food and cereal to refugee camps in Albania.

CWS is also helping to set up two large camps to meet the needs of a portion of the nearly 33,000 refugees now in Bosnia. "The needs are staggering," reports Vitali Vorona, CWS Bosnia Director. Some 600,000 Kosovar Albanians have fled their homes – pouring into neighboring Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, creating the worst humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II.

Meanwhile, the NCC's Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program (CWS/IRP) is shifting into high gear following the recent announcement by the Clinton Administration that the United States will accept 20,000 Kosovar refugees "until they can return home." Family members of people already living in the United States, along with some humanitarian cases, will be given priority and will be resettled through United States resettlement agencies, of which CWS/IRP is one.

"We certainly welcome the announcement that refugees will come directly from Macedonia to the U.S. and not have to go to another processing center such as Guantanamo," said Mr. William Sage, CWS/IRP Director. "We also welcome the inclusion of special humanitarian cases. We know how difficult it will be to identify and refer those cases, but it is often churches who do such a good job with special humanitarian cases because they are prepared to make a longer-term commitment and have resources to mobilize."

IRP affiliates throughout the country have been providing information about how relatives in this country can locate and file for their refugee relative in Macedonia. "The major challenge in this emergency is getting out accurate information," Mr. Sage said. "We are helping families to understand the proper procedures."

Following a conference call with CWS/IRP's 44 affiliates, Mr. Sage said "our sense is that most of the families filing for family reunification come from the areas of New York, Chicago and Seattle."

CWS was one of the first relief agencies on the scene in the region, providing blankets, tents and bed linens to refugees in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia.


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