ALBANIA FORCE - Allied Harbour

In Albania and Turkey, 100 Czech personnel participated

6th Field Hospital in 1999

This humanitarian mission was focused on support and relief for Kosovar refugees in Albania.
There were 16 NATO-member countries participating in this operation.


NATO Operation "Allied Harbour"

The UN mandate for the Operation was effective from April to September 1999.


6th Field Hospital

Commander: Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Jindřich SITTA

The task of the Hospital was to provide medical care, in accordance with NATO standards, not only for refugees but also for AFOR personnel on a 24-hour emergency service basis. Besides five surgical teams, the Hospital included stations specialised in traumatology, ORL, radiography, cardiology, and psychology.

The Field Hospital was originally deployed to Kavaje (about 30 km southeast of Capital City of Tirana) together with 16 other medical facilities and stations serving on the operation. In addition to treatment, the Hospital acted as a dispensary unit distributing medicaments and medical material; it also contributed to sanitation and epidemiological measures taken at three refugee camps. Personnel of the Hospital's mobile teams transported refugees from northern Albania to newly built camps in the south of the country.

Under a bilateral agreement, the Hospital was reinforced with ten medical personnel from the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

The Czech Field Hospital closed its activities in Albania on 27 September 1999, with a movement of all of its elements to help people of Turkey following an earthquake.

Civil Defence

The Civil Defence forces of the Czech Republic also contributed to resolving the humanitarian crisis in Albania, and subsequently during the aftermath of an earthquake in Turkey.

Twenty nine personnel of the Civil Defence forces erected a refugee camp for a thousand people in the military area near the Albanian village of Rushkul during the period 10 to 29 May 1999. After its construction, the completely equipped camp was handed over to a representative of the UNHCR for the Albanian region of Durres. The Czech government later decided to donate the camp to Albania.

Earthquake in Turkey

A devastating earthquake of 7.8 on the Richter scale hit the northwestern part of Turkey on 17 August 1999. Many people lost their lives and hunderds suffered injuries. Almost one million people lost their homes. There was an enormous lack of clinical beds, shortages of drinking water and a high risk of epidemic outbreak. Responding to this situation, mobile teams of the 6th Field Hospital rushed out of Albanian Kavaje on 23 August, bound for the Turkish city of Gölcük. Following approval of the Czech parliament, the major part of the Hospital moved to the stricken area and was on site until the situation had stabilised and local authorities had taken control.

The medical staff of 15 surgeons, 13 nurses and seven drivers/nursing orderlies provided a specific medical relief for local people. Along with 30 other hospital personnel they also provided logistic support for temporary refugee camps.

Czech medical teams closely cooperated with the Italian Medical Corps and an Italian military hospital. During the deployment to Turkey, Czech personnel treated 8,251 patients (97 patients/day).

The Czech 6th Field Hospital was closed in Turkey on 31 October 1999. In total, both in Albania and Turkey, Czechs provided medical care for 13 thousand patients.