a short tour of selected sites in Belgrade, summer of 2001


"Collateral" Damage? Collective Punishment?

collateral = running parallel or together; related (to a subject, etc.) but not forming an essential part (Webster's)



Number of warplanes used: 1,000 warplanes, 205 helicopters

Cruise Missiles launched: 10,000

Explosives dropped: 79,000 tons (including cluster bombs, thermo-visual, and graphite bombs)

Cluster bombs: 152 containers with 35,540 bomblets (one of which was dropped on the town market in Nis in the middle of the day, killing 15 and injuring 70)

Casualties are disputed, in part because of under-reporting of the official number of deaths by the yugoslav government: they range from anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 civilian casualties, with over 15,000 wounded, and 5,000 military and security casualties


Country with the largest number of refugees in Europe: Yugoslavia

Number of refugees: some 7-800,000 (340,000 refugees from Croatia, 140,000 from Bosnia, predominantly serb in both cases; and 230,000 from Kosovo, both serb and roma)


Total damage to the economy of yugoslavia: around $30 billion US

Average Monthly Salary in yugoslavia: equivalent of $50 US

Unemployment Rate: 35%

Average cost of monthly electricity bills in winter of 2002: Often 2 to 3 times the monthly salary

Summer of 2002 (4 months later): the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank insist on another 50% price hike per household on electricity as a condition for the granting of long term loans (including loans to overhaul the national power grid destroyed during the NATO bombing)


Public Infrastructure:

306 schools damaged, 30 heavily, 3 completely destroyed

3 hospitals directly hit, 20 health institutions damaged


Industrial infrastructure destroyed:

Automobile industry almost completely destroyed (including the "Zastava" plant in Kragujevac, whose 24,000 workers were considered to constitute a stronghold of opposition to Milosevic)

Destruction of several petrochemical plants (including the bombing and release of many toxic chemicals)

Major Damage to the electrical grid, 60% of power generating capacities out of operation (serbia will be importing power from other countries until at least 2006)

2 heating plants completely destroyed, 2 damaged

Significant damage to water supply systems

Complete destruction of both oil refineries

Major Damage to the tobbaco industry, metal industry, metallurgy, machine-building and electrical industries

Significant damage to the wood-working, rubber, and textile industries, footwear industry, and food production industry

8 hotels completely destroyed or heavily damaged, several large department stores heavily damaged

Number of Workers working in industrial facilities directly damaged: 150,240


Environmental Destruction:

The deliberate and repeated targeting of the oil refineries and the petrochemical complex of Pancevo (located just outside Belgrade in a densely populated area) released vinyl-chloride (whose levels at the end of the bombing were over 10,000 times higher than safe human levels), ethylene, chlorine, and other toxic chemicals and known carcinogens into the air. Bombing of plants producing fertilizers and plastics resulted in the release of 3,000 tons of ammonia, 800 tons of concentrated hydrochloric acid, mercury, vinyl chloride, chlorine into the river Danube and the air.

Over 50,000 depleted uranium shells were fired by NATO. Depleted Uranium is used to coat the tips of missiles so that they pierce armour (first introduced during the Gulf War), and has a half-life of 2.5 billion years. The explosion of these bombs releases millions of tiny radioactive particles into the environment, which are spread over large areas of land, inhaled into the lungs, and remain in the body permanently. Many believe it to be a carcinogen, linking it to the so-called Gulf War and Balkan syndromes of American and European troops.


Other Infrastructure (Transportation and Media):

24 bridges destroyed, 36 damaged

3 civilian airports destroyed

13 TV transmitters, 9 radio transmitters

Over 10 radio and television facilities bombed, regardless of their political orientation

The Radio Television Serbia bombings left three national radio and television networks completely destroyed - the bombing of the central television building resulted in the death of 16 people


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