HeadLine: DUMPED IN A RUN-DOWN HOSPITAL, THE FORGOTTEN CASUALTIES OF KOSOVO
Daily Record, 17/04/1999, p6
by Shaun Milne, in Kukes
THESE are the forgotten people of Kosovo.
Crippled pensioners lie rotting on stinking mattresses, their skin covered in sores.
But this is not a refugee camp.
This is the main hospital in the Albanian border town of Kukes.
Forty refugees have been dumped here, hidden away in a run-down building behind Kukes Hospital.
Among them, Museli Berishq, 59, shot in the chest after he tried to help his daughter when Serbs shot them both while she was breastfeeding her baby.
He said: “One of their bullets hit my grandchild, then went into his mother. I was shot as I tried to reach them. I do not know if they are still alive.”
Museli is just one of many who have been left unable to walk or fend for themselves in the squalid, disease-ridden hospital.
Many of the pensioners have to lie on the floor, six to a room.
When we arrived, security guards tried to stop us from taking pictures.
But staff, angry at what has been going on, helped us in.
The patients cried and begged us to take them away.
Nurse Aferdita Penas, 25, said: “We are under great pressure. This hospital is built only for the people of Kukes. Now we are treating the people of Kosovo,
“But we are running out of time to get things we need to treat more people.
“We urgently need medicines, blankets, food and clothes. If not, I do not now how the hospital can keep helping these people.”
Burim Ninay is only nine and was shot through the jaw by Serb soldiers. His mother, Zize, 35, had to carry him through mountains for four days after it
happened, leaving their home in Milo.
She said: “I saw my son covered in blood. The police shot him and many others.
“He was in a coma and I thought he would die.”
Many of the patients are close to death and losing the will to live.
As one elderly lady said: “We might as well be dead.”