More than 150,000 Albanians have fled Kosovo in the past week amid a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing in the province. Impoverished neighbouring countries are already overwhelmed by the human tide of misery; columns of exhausted people are systematically robbed of their few remaining possessions as they try to cross borders.
The British aid organisations at the forefront of the international relief operation say they need a massive injection of funds to alleviate the plight of the refugees.
Donations to the Independent appeal will be handled by the Disasters Emergency Committee, which represents 15 charities including Oxfam, the Red Cross and Save the Children.
Since the Serbs began the wholesale clearing of entire cities, towns and villages in Kosovo last week, civilians have been flooding over the borders into Albania, Macedonia and the anti-Milosevic Yugoslav province of Montenegro. At least 100,000 refugees have entered Albania, and other countries have also received tens of thousands of Kosovars.
The money raised by The Independent will pay for food, shelter, warm clothes and sanitation for the displaced people. Tents, blankets and medical supplies are also being sent to the region.
A telephone line is being set up today by the Disasters Emergency Committee to take credit card pledges, and donations by cheque will be handled free by banks. The appeal will be backed by an advertising campaign on television and radio and in newspapers.Reuse content