No. 02/99 - October 1999 - Page 3

KPC takes on its Civilian Role
(Text: Maj Grethe Oestern - Photo: WO II Sergio Bondielli)

Pristina: KFOR was an important contributor to the demilitarization of the UCK and the establishment of the provisional Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). as a civilian emergency service organization. Members of the provisional KPC, wearing their new uniforms and badges, are now step by step starting to take on their civilian roles.

"In the last month, KPC volunteers in small numbers have started working on civil-humanitarian projects. Even more have been contracted for future projects. It is an encouraging start, and a forerunner of what we expect the KPC to become, says Lt Cot Scott Eichelberger, who is the chief of the Joint Implementation Commission's KPC establishment section.


Since October 11, for instance, members of the provisional KPC have been rebuilding damaged houses in the villages of Skenderaj and Vucitrn in Multinational Brigade North, under the supervision of KFOR and under the auspices of the UNMIK Winterization and Rehabilitation Programme.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is also employing a number of KPC members in its Village Employment and Rehabilitation Programme, which concentrates on improvement of infrastructure and environmental work and is funded by the European Commission. In this connection, the KPC personnel have been repairing roads and cleaning up the riverbank of the river in Prizren. Plans also exist to employ them for rehabilitation of water supply and reforestation. In addition, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is planning to use KPC members to distribute shelter kits.


Some KPC volunteers have also started working with the marking of areas containing unexploded ordnance (UXO). Multinational Brigade West was the first brigade to start training of personnel from the provisional KPC to carry out this important task, after KFOR welcomed an offer from the organization to provide such manpower. The Italian EOD Company arranged for a ten days long training course for ten vo1unteers. Six of the ten "students" passed the subsequent theoretical and practical exam, and on October 11 they started their work, setting up barbed wire fences and mine warning signs in the village Molic outside Pec.

"It feels very good to do this work," says Petrit Hasani. His five other colleagues all agree. They are not being paid anything to do the job, but Hasani says that they volunteered because they wish to help the people of Kosovo, especially the children. "We have talked to the local people here, and they will tell us if they see anything suspicious. Then we will mark the area and call KFOR," says Jahir Shabano.

During their first days or work, the six volunteers from the provisional KPC were closely supervised by one of their instructors from the course, Warrant Officer Marcello Corpus, because their new job is a potentially very dangerous activity. KPC teams are only to be employed in low risk areas. If in any doubt,. they are to halt their work and seek guidance from KFOR.

The volunteers from the provisional KPC will also carry out daily monitoring of the condition of the fences marking off areas containing UXO. This is a very important function, because unfortunately, some people remove, such fences as well as minefield fences.

A Train for Life
(Text: Maj Grethe Oestern - Photo: Cpl Graham Spark)

Cpl Craig Taylor and Pvt Paul Wrightson from 79 (UK) Railway Squadron in KFOR helped drive the train for Life from FYROM (1) to Kosovo

The Train for Life arrived in Kosovo on September 27, after having been driven by a team of volunteers all the way from England. It left England via the Channel Tunnel on September 16 and visited 11 countries on its way to Kosovo.

The train brought 15 carriages of aid from the UK, with artificial limbs, blankets, winter clothes, medical equipment, children's educational toys and school furniture. Two thirds of the load was aid from the K2K Fund, which is organised by the families of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps at their base in Rheindahlen, Germany.

Most importantly, the Train for Life left three locomotives behind in Kosovo for three months. KFOR will use those locomotives to deliver aid by rail from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) to Kosovo before winter, with a target to ensure every house in Kosovo has one habitable room before winter, an unparalleled railway project that will save lives.

KFOR is currently running three trains each way per day from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1) to Kosovo. Each trainload represents up to 50 lorry loads. Following the arrival of the three new locomotives, KFOR will be able to increase its working of the line to nine trains each way per day. This gives the potential to carry up to 450 lorry loads of aid each day. Using rail in winter provides the safest, most efficient and reliable way of moving high volumes of material.

There are only two past efforts that could be compared: when the British Royal Engineers during World War I ran troop trains from the Channel Ports to the front, and the Berlin Airlift when Berlin was cut off behind Russian lines at the end of World War II.

(1) Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

Robertson takes office

Brussels: Britain's Right Honorable Lord George Robertson, 53, took office as NATO's new Secretary General on October 14, saying he would focus the Alliance's efforts on strengthening Europe's defence role, building closer ties with Russia and creating conditions for lasting peace in the Balkans.

Robertson said that NATO has a crucial role to play in the stabilisation of the Balkans. "My goal is a Balkans that is inside the European family of democratic values," he said.

Robertson replaces Spain's Javier Solana, who ended his four-year term a few months early to take up the new European Union post of foreign policy coordinator. "He steered NATO through some pretty important and some difficult times," Robertson said about his predecessor.

Robertson is NATO's 10th Secretary General since the alliance was formed 50 years ago