Another Ilyushin Il-76 cargo jet carrying humanitarian aid for Serb refugees headed for Belgrade this morning.
This is the seventh plane to deliver humanitarian aid over a seven-day period, reports the Russian Emergencies Ministry's information department. This Il-76 aircraft, which is operated by the national Emergencies Ministry, will fly in medications and field kitchens, information-department officials added.
Previously, six aircraft serving with the national Emergencies Ministry delivered tents, beds, sheets, pillows, blankets, power generating units, field-kitchen equipment, water-purification units, lamps, floodlights, as well as soaps, detergents, stationery and sports gear for Serb schools March 24, 26 and 29, respectively. The entire 130-ton consignment was subsequently transported by Serb Red Cross trucks to Kosovo.
A six-truck Emergencies Ministry convoy arrived in Belgrade the other day, bringing more than 55.5 tons of humanitarian aid, i.e. bed-clothes and other necessities.
The Russian Emergencies Ministry's planes and ground transport are to deliver 380 tons of freight to Serbia during the humanitarian operation's first phase. Russia's Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Belgrade last week, negotiating with Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica of Serbia; both men eventually agreed to launch this humanitarian operation.
Such humanitarian aid will make it possible to set up the first refugee camp for 1,000 people. Serb refugees, who suffered as a result of recent attacks by Albanians in Kosovo, will be living there.
The humanitarian operation's second phase is to get underway in early April. For instance, it's intended to deliver the first 100 prefabricated houses by rail for a refugee camp. Such camps will have the required infrastructure, including sick bays, the Emergencies Ministry's officials noted.
The UN civilian mission in Kosovo estimates that 28 people were killed and over 800 injured as a result of riots over the March 17-20 period. More than 3,500 Serbs were forced to flee. Albanian extremists burned down 30 Orthodox churches and monasteries, as well as several hundred private homes and apartments, which belonged to the Serbs.
A fire has sparked on board the Russian aircraft-carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which currently undergoes repairs. The fire has engulfed the entire power compartment of the vessel