In the press
Putting Things Back in Order
29 May 2000
Bonn, Germany: It was a turbulent year for Kosovo. Following drawn-out civil strife and weeks of air strikes, Kosovars faced the difficult task of rebuilding their lives. Many had lost loved ones and everything else they cherished. Institutions, law and order and basic infrastructure were left in shambles. UN Volunteers accompanied the people on their first steps down a long road to recovery.
Attached to the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), which requested the support of 200 international specialists, they issued identity papers and rebuilt houses. Mobilizing with the people, UNVs helped to have rubbish removed from streets, roads repaired and trees planted. Through these EU-funded activities, 45,000 Kosovars have found a job. For the thousands without shelter who had to start from scratch as refugees, UNVs organized tents, food and medical care. This assistance in the camps set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was part of the UNV's work with a number of humanitarian agencies in Kosovo. During 1999, UNV supported relief activities in other regions as well:
UN Volunteers distributed food, provided transport and met emergency needs in refugee camps in many areas of Africa, including Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic Congo (Kinshasa), Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Tanzania. UNVs also helped refugees integrate in their new communities or assisted them with their repatriation.
Continuing their commitment to victims in Central American countries hardest hit by Hurricane Mitch, UN Volunteers in Honduras working for the World Food Programme helped register displaced people and monitored distribution of food, water and basic goods. In El Salvador, UNICEF recruited UN Volunteers for health brigades sent to the Southern Bajo Lempa region to provide rural people with basic health services and counselling on nutrition and hygiene.
In 1999, 69 per cent of all UN Volunteers were international specialists, qualified professionals with an average of 10 years' working experience.
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