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Urgent Press Release on Behalf of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund
by Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes,
President Of The Decani Monastery Relief Fund
Boise, Idaho, USA
October 18, 2000


 Kosovo
Christ
Typical homes with no roofs in Kosovo. Burned down Serb village of Novake near Prizren, summer 1999. (Photo from http://www.decani.yunet.com/photo_story2.html)

From:
The Decani Monastery Relief Fund
+Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes
President,
+Hieromonk Sava
of The Decani Monastery, Kosovo
Vice President,
Veljko Sikirica
Treasurer-Secretary

Dear Beloved Friends In Christ Our Lord,

May the peace and the joy of Christ our Lord God be with you always! As in the past the Decani Monastery Relief Fund has sought you most humbly with a God loving plea to help please those sill suffering in Kosovo, as well as struggling now with the forth coming winter months.

We have appealed to you and you have responded with great Christian love, and you have granted so many assistance in need of food, wood, and proper shelter, as well as help for medical assistance! Your great Christian love has been boundless, and bountiful for those in desperate needs!

We are currently dealing with many citizens still in Kosovo at this very hour without a roof over their heads, and freezing! Freezing in the night, and freezing in the early morning, soon they will freeze throughout the afternoons, now that the temperature is dropping day by day, and month by month.

How warm are we really, how high is the temperature in our own homes, comfortable? Not so comfortable in Kosovo! Think my ever-memorable and God loving friends, how cold are all the children, and how cold are the elderly, as well as those who are ill, and have not the strength to move about, or are still afraid of danger! Danger is still at the doorsteps of many who currently live in Kosovo presently!

How long the reconstruction of present government shall have an effect on Kosovo, we pray soon, and we pray before the first snow fall! Pray that stability comes quickly to this region, pray with me, and pray with all those who are asking for assistance and help please.

So many gracious souls whom we know not personally have reached out to help the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, and so many people have been assisted with your great Christian love, to help "all" souls and all people in Kosovo.

Let us warm these suffering souls with further great Christian love and assistance, we turn to you humbly, and we turn to you with our hands outstretched - help won't you please?

We give thanks to God for your great love, and we most humbly thank you today and always in loving prayer.

We have ways and means to help, trust us, and it shall reach the people in Kosovo. What a blessed hour it shall be when those in Kosovo shall be warmed with your love, and your great kindness.

Tell others too help please, ask others to help please, we humbly beseech you in this plea, and in prayer you shall hear our words.

May our Loving Lord God Bless you kind soul, and reward you today and always!

Peace be unto your good souls!

Thank you most humbly!

We are praying for you!

Your Ever Memorable Brothers In Christ Our Lord,
+Reverend Presbyter Demetrios Serfes,
+Hieromonk Sava,
+ArchimandriteTheodosius,
& Veljko Sikirica

Pray for Kosovo, and with patience we shall see hope!
Peace is at the door, lets open it wide with great Christian love!

Urgent Press Release
Thousands Face Kosovo Winter Freeze without a Roof

PRISTINA, Oct 16, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Thousands of people face a second freezing winter in Kosovo with only plastic sheeting to protect them and only a handful of aid agencies ready to help, aid workers here warned.

"There are fewer people in need of help this year, but their need is worse," said Joerg Denker, World Vision's head of mission in Kosovo.

"Aid programs went so well here last year that the outside world has decided Kosovo is all right now. But there are hundreds of families still living in tents," he said, explaining that only about 20 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had planned emergency aid for this winter.

Over 400 NGOs rolled into Kosovo last year after NATO air strikes ended the 1998-1999 war, clamoring to hand out shelter kits, blankets and fuel mainly to ethnic Albanian families whose houses had been systematically torched by Yugoslav troops.

"Last year the emergency aid program was hard to coordinate because there were too many agencies. This year it's going to be hard because there is almost nobody left doing emergency work," said Patricia Pennetier, head of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) here.

As the UN administered province heads for its second post-war winter, conditions are greatly improved. Electricity and water supplies are back on tap and some 20,000 of the worst hit houses have been, or are being, rebuilt with money from international donors.

Most of the NGOs have turned to development projects like improving roads and helping minority groups, mainly Serbs and Roma gypsies, Pennetier said.

But according to figures from the European Agency for Reconstruction (EAR) aid is not yet available for some 100,000 more crumbling shells of houses, mainly in hilly rural areas of the province.

Some of their owners will spend another winter staying with friends or in community shelters. But others prefer not to wait for foreign aid and will tough out sub-zero temperatures and meters of snow in makeshift plastic tents or in the remains of their houses, cobbled into bunker-like shelters.

Families have lined what walls still stand with plastic sheets from last year's shelter kits, and made temporary roofs in which they will huddle, 10 to 15 to a room, until spring.

"Last year, the rain didn't come through. But now the plastic has holes in it. Everything is permanently damp," said Gomi, a 36-year-old mother in the hilltop village of Jezerce 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Pristina.

"Either we will live or die. There's no point crying about it," her 73-year-old father in law, Sadri Uksmoijle, said as five or six children scampered around, some barefoot, in the mud.

"I don't say people are going to die. But they are going to have a really tough time. We need to go back into emergency mode for this winter," Pennetier said.

Aid projects have not failed this year, the director of the EAR, Hugues Mingarelli, explained, they are actually well on track. "It just takes more than six months to rebuild a place that's been so badly damaged."

The EAR, the biggest single donor to Kosovo, spent EUR 60 million (USD 52.1 million) on reconstruction this year. A further EUR 300-350 million are earmarked for 2001, Mingarelli said. "But it will take two to three years just to get the basics in place."

"Those who missed out on the first round of aid are just going to have to muddle through this winter," the EAR chief said.

"Even if more money had been available, it would take 10,000 trucks to bring the materials needed to rebuild everything, and there is a limit to how many can flow into a place as small as this at once," he said.

For those left exposed to the elements, ECHO's Kosovo office has come up with an emergency firewood distribution plan for the whole province.

But temperatures are already dropping -- they can plummet to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) any time from November -- and so far it's not clear that the humanitarian community is in a position to cope.

(c) 2000 Agence France Presse

If you are interested in supporting the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, please send your donation to the following address in America:

Decani Monastery Relief Fund,
c/o Veljko Sikirica
4 West Hill Street
Baltimore, MD. 21230
USA

For information about the Decani Monastery in Kosovo please visit http://www.decani.yunet.com

Holy Saint Sava,
Pray Unto God For Us!

GLORY BE TO GOD FOR ALL THINGS!


 
Content written/compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes.
(c) Father Demetrios Serfes