The Kosovo War started in March 1998 in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (consisting at that time of Serbia and Montenegro). The conflict was fought by the Yugoslavian army against the Kosovo Liberation Army supported by NATO. A cease-fire agreement accepted in June 1999 brought the conflict to an end. According to a 2008 report by the International and Serbian commissions for missing persons, the loss of civilian life stands at 13,472.
Right from the start of the conflict in 1998, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL mobilised to assist and support the massive numbers of Kosovar refugees fleeing their country. In response to the crisis, our teams carried out emergency food and clothing distributions, as well as housing rehabilitation and well decontamination projects.
After a short interruption, our teams were back on the ground in June 1999, where the United Nations Refugee Agencys (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) had given them the responsibility of coordinating humanitarian assistance in the Gjakova region.
Housing and infrastructure in the area had been seriously damaged or even totally destroyed during the conflict. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL therefore tackled the rehabilitation of housing and water supply systems, and organized distributions of winter kits, mattresses, blankets and food.
Our teams continued to support the reconstruction process in Kosovo until 2001, through the distribution of reconstruction materials, support to economic initiatives, and also the creation of a children’s centre.
Quotes from our archives:
Gjakova/Djakovica, December 2, 1999
It will soon be six months since the mission resumed its activities in Kosovo. During those six months we have distributed, repaired and rebuilt, but we have also listened and consoled. Now, Kosovo looks totally different: the shops are well stocked, music is playing in the cafés, and new restaurants have opened. But behind the village with its brand new roofs is another hidden realm, where three or four families huddle together in what remains of a house, or keep themselves warm as best they can in a tent in mid-winter. What remains hidden is the sheer magnitude of what has been lost, burned or ransacked, exacerbating rampant poverty. We need to learn to look at one portion of the country’s population, who are getting over the trauma and finding their feet again socially and economically, without forgetting the others, who are dependent on our assistance.
Marie-Laure, Administrator in Kosovo for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL
At head office