Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Aid Trucks Bring out Hundreds People in Hiding Come out for Food

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Aid Trucks Bring out Hundreds People in Hiding Come out for Food

Article excerpt

GLOGOVAC, Yugoslavia -- The land between Serb guns and ethnic Albanian fighters appeared deserted -- until the U.N. aid truck showed up yesterday, bringing hundreds of people streaming out of the forests and hiding places.

Glogovac had seen some of the fiercest fighting between Yugoslav forces and the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army. The green valley is scarred with gaping craters where NATO bombs fell.

"For two weeks, we've had no flour for bread," Asmina Kukaji told U.N. aid workers as she escorted them around the fourroom house where she and her family had been living with 165 other people.

Feed corn stewing in a pot on the stove was the daily ration for the house, she said.

Within minutes of the U.N. arrival on the outskirts of the village, the previously deserted streets spilled over with children, women and old people -- the men were noticeably few -- shouting "NATO, NATO!" and handing out bouquets of flowers.

The U.N. World Food Program estimates that 18,000 people now live in the greater Glogovac area. Most of them fled their villages in the hills of Drenica as the Serbs moved through the region over the course of the past year.

Further down the road, toward Srbica, some people were already on their way home. Pushing their belongings in wheelbarrows, or carrying them wrapped in kerchiefs in sticks on their back, about 100 women and children and old men walked through the tall grass, bright with cornflowers and poppies.

"We have very little food," said 17-year-old Lumturi Muja, who was heading back to her village of Srdulica, 7 miles from the Glogovac suburb, where she and her family have been squatting in an abandoned school for months.

"We have lost many babies because they were hungry," she said.

According to Muja, KLA fighters showed up Sunday and told them it was safe to return home. The KLA told them they had cleared the mines from their homes.

Another family, sitting by the roadside for a lunch of dry bread -- the last of their rations -- said they, too, had been told by the KLA that it was safe to return. …

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