War in the Balkans: Readers raise over pounds 500,000

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The Independent Online
READERS of The Independent have donated more than pounds 500,000 to help the refugees of Kosovo.

As money continues to pour in, those co-ordinating the appeal welcomed the contributions. "It really is a fantastic effort. We are delighted by the efforts of your readers," said a spokesman for the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). "The average amount from your readers seems to be around pounds 50."

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

More than 500,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees have fled or been forced from their homes as a result of Serb ethnic cleansing of the province and are now in neighbouring Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro, or have been flown to countries in the West including Turkey, Norway and Sweden.