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Care for refugees, displaced people drains Yugoslavia
February 01, 2000

Insufficient aid of international community
Insufficient aid of international community
Belgrade, January 31 (Tanjug) - Assistant Minister for Refugee and Humanitarian Affairs Mira Nikolic said at an enlarged session of the Drina humanitarian society presidency that Yugoslavia was taking care of some 700,000 refugees from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and another 338,000 displaced people from the U.N.-ruled Kosovo-Metohija province.

Nikolic said that, over the past eight years, Yugoslavia had spent a large proportion of its domestic product to finance refugee care, whereas international relief aid had covered barely 10 percent of the cost of their upkeep. She said the cost of food and board in refugee centers in 1999 had stood at 23 million dollars, 9 million of which were put up by the international community.

NATO's armed aggression on Yugoslavia from March 24 to June 10, 1999, further aggravated the serious economic, social and humanitarian situation, caused primarily by years of western sanctions, said the deputy of federal health, work and social policy minister Anka Vojvodic.

Direct and indirect damage from the economic blockade, according to figures of the Yugoslav ministry for development, science and the environment, stands at 150 billion dollars, while damage from the aggression is estimated at 100 billion.

That means, said Vojvodic, that total direct and indirect damage caused by war and sanctions is 250 billion US dollars.

Apart from the one million refugees and displaced people, Yugoslavia has about 4 million people - mostly children, elderly people and invalids - of a population of 10.7 million, who are in need of some form of relief or welfare aid.


 


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