In Kosovo, humanitarian needs relate to protracted displacement stemming from the conflict that erupted in 1998. Known as the Kosovo War, the conflict involved multiple factions and actors over time - predominantly Serbian military, police forces of the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and armed groups within the Albanian majority population in Kosovo, mainly the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). It eventually led to NATO intervening in 1999 including through aerial bombing campaigns.

Current situation

The conflict led to large-scale displacement of over one million Kosovo Albanians within Kosovo and across borders to neighbouring countries. Following NATO airstrikes and the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo in 1999, another wave of displacement was triggered and over 200,000 Kosovo Serbs and Roma fled from Kosovo, mainly to Serbia for fear of reprisals.  

While the situation had somewhat stabilised with the presence of international armed forces post 1999, ethnic tensions again led to renewed violence in 2004, displacing another 4,200 people from minority groups to areas mainly within Kosovo. 

Core sectors Kosovo

Economic Recovery
Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding
Shelter and Settlements
Camp Coordination and Camp Management

Displacement trends

Source: | UNHCR

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  • 01 Sep 2022

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Why we are there

DRC has operated continuously in Kosovo since 1998. Initially, humanitarian assistance provided by DRC focused on emergency aid, but was soon extended to logistics support, transport, shelter and reconstruction, income generating activities and social rehabilitation of internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and other displacement and conflict-affected populations.

From 2003, DRC focused increasingly on supporting minority returns to Kosovo through a cross-border programme developed in cooperation with DRC in neighbouring Serbia and Montenegro. 

What we do

DRC’s current approach and programme has evolved over time to respond to changes in Kosovo and the region, as well as changes in the displacement environment and needs related to institutional building.

Based on the needs of displaced persons in the region including also IDPs and returnees, DRC focuses on core sectors of intervention including Shelter & Settlements, Economic Recovery and technical assistance to authorities and local partners with an emphasis of cross-cutting elements of access to basic needs & services, Protection and social cohesion and inclusive governance across its programming. 

In response to the displacement in the wake of the war in Ukraine, DRC Kosovo has provided emergency cash assistance to Ukrainian citizens residing temporarily in Kosovo. In close cooperation with local authorities and other humanitarian actors, DRC Kosovo has prepared dignity packages with food and non-food items for persons fleeing Ukraine who are transiting through Kosovo, often traveling onwards to Albania and Montenegro.

Working in collaboration with

British Embassy Pristina
British Embassy Pristina
The European Union Office in Kosovo
The European Union Office in Kosovo
Government of Kosovo
Government of Kosovo
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme