European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Providing shelter for refugees and migrants at the registration point in Gevgelija, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, November 2015. © European Union/ECHO/Mathias Eick

What are the needs?

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has become the scene of the largest migration route in Europe. In October and November 2015 alone, an estimated 350 000 refugees passed through the country on their way from Greece to central Europe. Catering for these people in need is a challenge and has put response capacities of the country with its two million inhabitants to the test.

How are we helping?

To prevent a humanitarian debacle along the Western Balkans migration route, the European Commission hosted a meeting on 25 October 2015 in Brussels, Belgium, bringing together the leaders of the countries most affected by the displacement, the EU institutions, as well as representatives from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). During the meeting, it was agreed that transit countries, such as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, should strengthen their capacities and continue to provide temporary shelter, food, health, water and sanitation to all people in need. Leaders also agreed to inform the European Commission in case that domestic capacities would prove insufficient to deal with the challenge effectively.

The European Commission is providing approximately €4 million in humanitarian aid to support a number of projects in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. These relief projects are delivering temporary shelter, water, food, primary health care, psycho-social support, protection assistance, as well as winter clothing. There is a special focus on the needs of children which make up an ever growing share of refugees travelling through the region.

The country is prone to floods. In both August 2015 and August 2016, it was severely affected by deadly floods and mudslides and EU expert teams were sent to help assess damages through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. In 2015, the European Commission also provided humanitarian assistance to the flooded communities (distribution of food, hygiene and non-food items) through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, with funding for over 84 000. 

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