Environmental and Social Consequences of Military Resolution of Yugoslavian Conflict (March 24-June 9, 1999)
On March 24 1999 the NATO started its military operation against independent Republic Yugoslavia. Nineteen the most technologically advanced countries, headed by USA, with population 600 mln. people assaulted tiny Yugoslavia (11 mln. people) that was already depleted by long-term economic restrictions imposed by these countries.
NATO's Air forces and Navy were represented by: 1100 planes, 206 helicopters, 3 aircraft-carriers, 4 submarines, 2 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 10 frigates etc. NATO's Air forces performed 25200 flights over Yugoslavia – up to 800 flights per day. Only for the first six weeks of bombing Yugoslavia, which territory is 102,35 sq. km, suffered from 10 thousand cruise missiles, 37 440 cassette bombs and 25000 tons of explosives.
Extensive NATO bombing turned almost all Yugoslavian territory into zone of environmental disaster. Non-stop missile and bomb strikes were aimed at oil refineries and oil factories. Direct hits of bombs and missiles into fuel reservoirs and oil factories led to expel into atmosphere huge quantities of dangerous gases, with prolonged cancerogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic properties.
Burning reservoirs with crude oil, oil byproducts and toxic substances were polluting atmosphere with dangerous volatile chemicals. These toxic substances, turned into acid rains, disturbed natural air dynamics of the atmosphere, polluted water, underground water and fertile soils at main crop producing areas.
Soil and surface minerals were polluted by oil, flowing from burning reservoirs of oil refineries and toxic substances from acid rains. The bombs and missiles disturbed the integrity of near surface layers of minerals, forming craters from few centimeters to few meters in diameter.
The water resources of Yugoslavia were significantly damaged. Rivers and underground waters were polluted by oil, oil byproducts and toxic chemical substances, flowing out from exploded oil and chemical factories, as well as chemicals from acid rains. Oil from reservoirs of oil refinery in Novi-Sad flew into Danube river and formed huge spot 400 m wide and about 15 km in length. This disaster had a heavy impact water supplies of many cities and villages. The oil spot, moving downwards Danube river put an end to aquatic plants and animals. The mass fish mortality due to toxic chemicals was noted in many other rivers of Yugoslavia.
250 hectares of forests perished in fire, fruit gardens and crops were destroyed and the migration routs of birds from north, central and eastern parts of Europe were disturbed.
The NATO officially admitted, that more than 100 times it used bombs with non refined uranium was used in Yugoslavia. “Non-refined uranium –238” was in the cores of bombs and “Tomahawk” missiles, which were extensively used in Kosovo. By Russian military specialists estimations, NATO dumped at least 30 tons of uranium-238 on Yugoslavia.
Economic losses are estimated at 100 billion US dollars.
82 automobile and railway bridges were destroyed during this operation. Numerous railways tracks and stations as well as airports were damaged in many areas. 422 educational institution buildings – schools, universities, dormitories etc. were destroyed by NATO bombings. 48 hospital and medical centers were also damaged, as well as 365 museums, historical buildings, ancients churches and monasteries under state protection and of great value for world culture.
As a result of obliterating of factories, plants and civic institutions more than 2,5 million people lost elementary living conditions. More than half a million people lost their jobs and including members of their families more than 2 million people lost any means of survival. More than 1 million inhabitants of Yugoslavia spent days without electricity, phone and on-time medical assistance and suffered from shortage of drinking water.
Consequences of NATO bombings were seen even in territories other than Yugoslavia. NATO missiles, bombs and planes were falling on territories of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albany and Italy. In Hungary over the National Park Khortbad on May 26 1999, the American refueling plane KS-135 dumped 48 tons of kerosene at 3500 m. These toxic chemical was transported by wind over Rumanian territory. The fires on oil refineries and oil factories in Yugoslavia were the source of environmental threat for all Balkan region. For a significant distance Danube river was covered with oil film few millimeter thick. This was a serious ecological threat for ecosystems of the lower Danube river – the source of drinking water for 10 mln. people and especially in Danube delta, which is the living ground for more than 300 species of birds and 45 species of freshwater fish.
With bridges destroyed and Danube ships movement stopped with length of about 580 km, 13 European countries with population over 480 mln. people suffered from serious
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