The War in the Balkans: Readers' total hits pounds 600,000

READERS ARE encouraged to continue to send in contributions to The Independent's appeal to help the refugees of Kosovo.

The total has now reached the astounding figure of pounds 600,000. "Envelopes are coming in at the rate of about 200 a day at the moment but the rate is slowing down," warns a spokesman for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), the body co-ordinating the appeal.

The committee is co- ordinating a series of appeals for the refugees of Kosovo, including that of The Independent. The money is being used to pay for food, blankets, first-aid, emergency shelters, sanitation and essential water purification equipment.

The latest figures show that over 600,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees have either fled or been forced from their homes by the Serbs' ethnic cleansing of the province. There are more than 125,000 being temporarily housed in massive refugee camps around the Macedonian capital, Skopje.