Kosovo: Refugee Assistance and Temporary Resettlement

Publication Date: September 1999

Publisher: Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service


Research Area: Population and demographics


Coverage: Kosovo (Serbia)


The State Department estimates that 90% of Kosovar Albanians fled or were driven from their homes after March 1998 by Yugoslav forces, with the majority leaving between March and June of 1999. At the height of the crisis, over 780,000 of them were in camps in the region, primarily Albania and Macedonia, two countries with little capacity for providing for them. Another 150,000 were scattered around Europe, principally in Germany and Switzerland, and 29 countries were providing temporary refuge to 91,000 outside of the region. On April 16, the Administration requested an emergency supplemental which included money for humanitarian assistance in Kosovo.1 On April 21, Vice President Gore announced up to 20,000 Kosovars with close family ties or in vulnerable circumstances would be resettled in the United States from Macedonian camps.

Approximately 13,000 have been admitted under the refugee provisions of the immigration law, and many are now returning to Kosovo. P.L. 106-31 (H.R. 1141), signed on May 21, appropriates more than $1 billion in humanitarian programs for Kosovo. With the peace agreement of June 9, the refugees returned quickly (over 770,000 have returned since mid June) and the donor countries began focusing on temporary humanitarian aid and long-term reconstruction aid to Kosovo. Most of the reconstruction aid is expected to come from the Europeans. Additional U.S. assistance is expected to be appropriated in the regular foreign aid and defense appropriation legislation. It is not anticipated that this report will be updated.