Refugees in Montenegro: Bad, and Getting Worse

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April 1, 12.30 a.m., Montenegro

I've just got back from a small border town where a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding. There are thousands of ethnic Albanians on the Kosovo side of the border waiting to come through. In one small town alone, more than 25,000 have come through in the last few days, and they're packed 20 to a home. Many are sleeping in factories. Doctors here fear an epidemic: No food has reached the refugees in a couple of days, and most people haven't eaten. In the hallways of factories there are women giving birth next to men with tuberculosis. There are no antibiotics and no food. The aid agencies haven't reached here yet, and more refugees are arriving every hour. It's looking to get really bad really quickly now.

In the middle of town, where thousands of hungry people are milling about waiting for a ride out or for somewhere to go, all the stores are stocked with food. The meat stores have slaughtered lambs in them, and yet nobody's eaten. There's the potential for really serious trouble. There's food here but people are going hungry. The big food supplies that are meant to supply refugees here are in Belgrade, and Milosevic isn't releasing them.

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