The Kosovo Crisis

and the

Order of Malta

The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard is a relief organisation of the Order of Malta. We thought that it might be interesting for you, our members, to know the assistance being given to refugees in the war torn area of Kosovo and the surrounding countries, by the Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta.

The newspapers, television and radio reports are all full of the tragedies which are taking place in Kosovo and Yugoslavia. There are graphic pictures screened on TV. daily, of thousands of refugees fleeing from their homes. Some of them have been given five minutes to leave their homes. The old and the young, men, women and children, with nothing but the clothes they have on, are forced to leave. They have to travel hundreds of kilometers by foot, by cart, by tractor or any other possible transport to avoid the atrocities which are being committed against the people of that country.

The sheer numbers of refugees poses a huge problem for the neighbouring countries such as Albania and Macedonia. To give shelter, to feed and to provide adequate medical treatment for hundreds of thousands of traumatised people, is an undertaking which takes enormous good will, efficient personnel, the infrastructure, many volunteers and millions of dollars.

The Order began assisting by working in the Montenegro region, through the German Malteser-Hilfsdienst. This work began as early as December 1998 when tens of thousands of people were expelled from Kosovo. At that time Malteser-Hilfsdienst set up a refugee camp for 10 000 people. While the German volunteers were in Montenegro, they managed to recruit enough local personnel who could continue the relief work after the Germans had to leave the country.

Since then, in different towns in Albania, the Austrian, the German and the French Associations of the Order have set up refugee camps to house and treat 30 000 people. In Macedonia the Order of Malta has already distributed relief goods to the value of US$280,000.

The cost of an operation on this scale is enormous and it is being funded by donations from the Order's entities from all over the world. It is wonderful to know that, in times of crisis, different nationalities do stand together. The British and Belgian Associations of the Order have donated thousands of blankets. The American and Spanish Associations of the Order and other non-Order organisations have made thousands of US dollars available for the work of the Emergency Corps of the Order for use in the Kosovo crisis.

We hope and pray for a speedy solution to the problems in this area and we pray for the safety of all the relief workers who have sacrificed their time and energy to assist in the crisis.


This page was last updated on Friday, 18 September 2015 22:18:13

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