War In The Balkans: How you can help relieve the suffering

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The Independent Online
THE INDEPENDENT launches an appeal today to help refugee victims of the Serbian atrocities in Kosovo, which have led to the biggest humanitarian disaster in Europe since the Second World War.

More than 150,000 Albanians have fled Kosovo in the past week amid a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing. Impoverished neighbouring countries are already overwhelmed by the human tide of misery; columns of exhausted people are systematically robbed 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 theclearing of 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.

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.

A telephone line is being set up today by the Disasters Emergency Committee to take credit card pledges. Donations by cheque will be handled free by banks.