THE WAR in the Balkans is now well into its fourth week. During that time, nearly a million Kosovar Albanians have either fled, or been forced out of their homes: victims of "ethnic cleansing", writes Chris Brown.

Serbian paramilitaries, police, and soldiers are reported to have driven ethnic Albanian citizens of Kosovo from their homes. These refugees have flooded into neighbouring countries such as Albania and Macedonia; some have already died, many are seriously ill, all have their own horror stories to tell.

Two weeks ago, to try to prevent further suffering, the Independent on Sunday and the Independent launched a disaster appeal, in conjunction with the Disasters Emergency Committee. Since then, readers have swamped us with calls, donating well over pounds 550,000 to the overall appeal, which has hit pounds 15m so far. The joint appeal will ensure that the various aid agencies working in the region act together, so that the funds raised will go to the most needy as quickly as possible. These funds are already paying for essential food, blankets, first aid, shelter, and sanitation.

But urgent help is still required. You can make a credit card donation by calling 0870 6060900 or 0990 222233. Cheques made payable to Kosovo Crisis Appeal can be sent to the Disasters Emergency Committee Kosovo Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC4A 9AA. Cash should ONLY be given at banks, building societies and post offices. Updates can be obtained via ITV Teletext page 520, or the DEC Internet site (