Army Shifts Kosovo Relief Role

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“The assistance in Kosovo humanitarian operations has entered its new stage,” stated Captain Ray Brown, acting program director of the Salvation Army team in Gjakove, Kosovo, “the stage of rehabilitating and recreating communities which have been badly damaged in terms of physical infrastructure and also in terms of destroyed relationships among various ethnic groups constituting this troubled province. The process of re-building will be long and painful.”

In late July, The Salvation Army team left Albania, where it had been feeding approximately 10,000 refugees in three separate camps: Mullet–near Tirana; Korce–in Southern Albania, and Hammulaj–in Western Albania. A total of 36 people–composed of Salvation Army officers, Salvationists and Christians of other denominations (16 of them from the US)–have supported the work since it started in April.

Now, the decision has been made to transfer all team members and Salvation Army assets into Gjakova, a town situated in the southwestern part of Kosovo under the supervision of the Italian contingent of the NATO Kfor.

In just 10 days, the following programs were initiated by The Salvation Army in that location. Brick factory camp–The Salvation Army team is responsible for the overall management of the brick factory collective center, where 47 families, including 150 children, have found a shelter. There, The Salvation Army is organizing food for the mid-day meals and supplying food for other meals.

One of the Western Territory team members, Dr. Templeton Elliot, Monterey Corps advisory member, has begun a counseling service, and already has a client group. Many ask for his services. Typical is a lady whose husband was shot by a former neighbor. Many people report having nightmares; some children stop communicating.

Winterization/Rehabilitation— Stoves are desperately needed in houses before the onset of winter. A local manufacturer can produce stoves at US $50 per unit. The Salvation Army will finance the production of 2,000 stoves initially.

Play Equipment–This idea is still in its conceptual stage and being investigated. It could be of a good therapeutic value to the whole community and it will also assist in building bridges between various ethnic groups in the community.

Project on Counseling–It is felt that The Salvation Army should establish a counseling project following a short intervention in this area initiated by Dr. Templeton Elliot. It is hoped that as the majority of short-term Salvation Army officers and volunteers leave Kosovo, there will be a team of 2-3 members to start a longer duration project in this area with the objective of training local people.

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