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Kosovo: UN mission sets up emergency fund for victims of last week's earthquake

Kosovo: UN mission sets up emergency fund for victims of last week's earthquake

Following last week's earthquake in the Gnjilane area, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has started a €500,000 (euros) fund to help victims get back on their feet.

The Earthquake Emergency Fund (EEF), established by UNMIK chief Michael Steiner earlier this week, received its first deposit from the Mission today and is set to be operational by Monday.

The EEF will be used mainly for in-kind assistance to individuals and families, with funds targeting the most vulnerable cases, UNMIK said. In exceptional circumstances, families in extreme situations may be eligible for cash assistance of up to €20. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and donor agencies will provide additional support for the relief effort.

EEF money will be allocated to municipalities based on the findings of the technical experts in the Municipal Crisis Committees, which are composed of international and local technicians and engineers in cooperation with UNMIK officials and engineering teams. The Committees have been established to assess the extent and level of damage and to categorize affected buildings and families according to established criteria.

In order to ensure an equitable evaluation of and response to the needs of the 16 affected minority villages, UNMIK has tasked four teams of international and local engineers to carry out damage assessment.

Mr. Steiner, meanwhile, has also contacted representatives of the Government of Japan to seek its assistance in informing the public about earthquakes by sending seismological experts to Kosovo.