No Shelling in Sarajevo, But Life Still A Struggle With PM-Yugoslavia, Bjt
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ With most Serb heavy guns gone from the nearby hills, Sarajevans can again stroll the streets of their city. But life for many remains a monotonous grind without enough food, fuel or other basics.
After nearly 23 months of siege, most of Sarajevo’s 380,000 residents still depend on humanitarian aid for survival.
U.N. handouts provide a drab diet of a pound of beans per person every two weeks, along with small amounts of sugar, cooking oil and occasional cookies. Bread is rationed, with a small loaf issued every day.
Most are unable to leave the city except by a dangerous route that begins with a nighttime attempt to slip across the exposed runway at Sarajevo airport.
Except for a few neighborhoods near priority buildings such as hospitals and military and government buildings, there is little electricity.
With few diversions and a 10 p.m. curfew, evenings are spent huddled in poorly heated apartments with candles providing the only light. Gasoline is virtually nonexistent, except on the black market where a quart can cost from $17 to $23.
The strain has led many Sarajevans to develop a sense of fatalism. Planning for the future has little meaning.
″My whole concept of life has changed,″ said Emir Colakovic, who was a rock musician before the war. ″I have built a wall around myself and have shut out things like air strikes and peace negotiations.″
Surprisingly, the city still offers a few amenities. Several private restaurants manage to offer such luxuries as meat and vegetables.
At the ″Glass City,″ a mall-style complex of shops and bars off Vase Miskim Street, well-off Sarajevans can sip coffee, chat with friends and forget the war.
But prices, which can easily run $30 for a meal, are beyond the means of most Sarajevans without access to foreign currency.
The German mark has become the city’s de facto currency. But salaries for the relative few who work are still paid in near-worthless dinars, making the average monthly wage equivalent to about 58 cents.