This operational plan outlines the results that the IFRC aims to achieve in collaboration with the Red Cross of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to respond efficiently and effectively to the migration crisis in 2017. In 2014, the number of migrants entering the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia) started rising, and then significantly increased in 2015. Following the closure of borders along the Balkan route in February 2016, people previously on the move became unable to continue their journeys. Initially there were 1,600 people stranded in FYR Macedonia, however the figure decreased to approximately 300 by the end of 2016 as migrants found alternative routes out of the country. In the second half of 2016, migrants started crossing the borders into FYR Macedonia from Greece and Serbia irregularly in their desperate attempts to continue their journey towards the Western European countries, often without success. Those entering the country in this way stay in the woods for days making them especially vulnerable. According to the data from the Red Cross (RC) of FYR Macedonia approximately 500 migrants cross the borders each month on average. For the people who remain stranded, provision of continuous assistance needs to be ensured and adapted to a longer-term approach. Given the uncertain political environment in the country as well as the withdrawal of other humanitarian agencies, the RC of FYR Macedonia is now the only humanitarian organization currently operational supporting migrants, and is in need of external support.
Lojane, Tabanovce, Skopje
The response of RC of FYR of Macedonia has been adapted to respond to the needs of migrants who may stay in the country throughout 2017, and to those who continue to arrive irregularly. In close coordination with the Crisis Management Centre of the government and other agencies, such as UNHCR and Save the Children, it has been agreed that RC of FYR of Macedonia continues with their operation both in the centres and the at the border areas as the lead humanitarian organization. Consequently, the RC of FYR Macedonia continues to be responsible for provision of food, hygiene parcels, clothes and first aid whenever needed. Red Cross teams provide hot meals twice a day and health assistance to people in the reception centres. Within the centres all sanitation services are carried out by the state institution “Institute for Public Health.” Due to the increasing number of irregular migrants at the border areas, RC of FYR Macedonia has established a small unit with a warehouse and a mobile team in Lojane/Lipkovo region. With the help of the unit and the team the RC of FYR Macedonia is able to reach those staying in the woods.
Migrants entering the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYR Macedonia).