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Balkans briefing number 5. Seeking refuge (Macedonia, 9–25 June 1999): the changing needs of humanitarian aid in the face of the peace
  1. John Ashton
  1. NHS Executive North West, 930–932 Birchwood Boulevard, Millennium Park, Birchwood, Warrington WA3 7QN
  1. Professor Ashton, CBE (e-mail: jech{at}

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Ekipi Britanik

  • “Do te evakuoje refugjatet Kosovare.

  • Asnjeri nuk do te evakuohet kunder deshires se tyre.

  • Bashkesia familjare duhet te ruhet, familjet gjate evakuimeve humanitare nuk do te ndahen.

  • Prioritet do te kene familjet te cilat kane probleme shendetsore.

  • Familjet: me femije te vegjel, me nje prind, antar te moshuar ose me probleme serioze shendetsore kane prioritet.

  • Familjet, qe qendrojne “kohe te gjate” ketu do te kene prioritet per evakuim.

  • Ne Jemi ketu per te ndihmuar.”

(British Team Skopje 1999-Humanitarian Evacuation:

  • “We will evacuate refugees from Kosovo.

  • No one will be forced to leave against their will.

  • Family unity must be preserved. Families will not be separated for humanitarian evacuation.

  • Refugees in the most difficult situation because of family situation or health problems will go first.

  • Vulnerable families with small children, single parents, elderly persons or family members with serious medical problems are a priority.

  • Consideration will also be given to long-stay cases.

  • We are here to help you.”)

Such was the British delegation interpretation of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees mission statement for Kosovo on the ground. Beginning in early April 1999 the largest displacement of civilians in Europe since the second world war had led to hundreds of thousands of Kosovans being relocated to refugee camps and supportive families in the community particularly in Albania and Macedonia. The countries of the European Union, the United States of America and other members of the UN family became actively engaged in the humanitarian relief effort. By the beginning of June tens of thousands of men, women and children had been evacuated and transported around the globe (figs1 and 2).

Figure 1

UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme (HEP) 21 …

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