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Refugees from the former Yugoslav Republic of MacedoniaRed Cross/Red Crescent movement response in Kosovo

15-05-2001 Operational Update

Pristina (ICRC) - The resumption of the hostilities in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM) has led hundreds of civilians to cross the border between fYROM and Kosovo to seek refuge. The Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement is helping to meet the needs of the refugees, mostly through the active presence of the " Red Cross of Kosovo " (RCK). The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is in charge of co-ordinating the humanitarian response implemented by the various organisations.

Since May 3rd, more than 8000 persons have crossed the border to Kosovo, according to figures compiled by the UNHCR on a daily basis.

Refugees cross into Kosovo mostly through Blace border, but also through Prizren area (Dragash and Zhuppa Valley) and Jazince border.

 Reception of refugees at Blace border  

Refugees arrive by car or on foot and are registered at one of two registration points set up by the UNHCR. For those persons which arrive by foot through the hills, the " RCK " has organised the presence of volunteers to receive them on the hillside, under a plastic sheeting. They are transported to the point of registration by van.

Volunteers of the " RCK " and of the Mother Theresa Society (MTS) take note of the personal details of the refugees and of their destination (host family). This information will allow the UNHCR to carry out an official registration later and to distribute the assistance the refugees are entitled to (food and non food items).

The " RCK " also provides a list of host families ready to accommodate refugees in case they don't have anywhere to go. If required, the refugees are transported to their destination by taxi, free of charge. Before leaving the point of registration, the arriving refugees are offered refreshments which have been donated by the local population and by the Saudi Joint Relief Committee.

The psycho-social team ( " RCK " with the International Federation) is providing support and comfort to those who are traumatised or scared, playing with the children and providing advice for people with special needs.

A medical post is located about 300 m from one of the compounds where the refugees are registered. The medical team from Ferizaj hospital provides first aid and, when needed, referral to the hospital. An ambulance of the Saudi Red Crescent is on stand by for medical evacuations.

 Latest arrivals  

On Wednesday May 9th, 250 refugees arrived in Kosovo through Blace border, mostly from Cerces, Romali, Brez, Lopat, Lubish, Vaksince, Haraqin, Kumanovo. They had left their homes because of fear that the fighting would get too close to their village. Some had already fled from the fighting in their home village and had stayed until now in Kumanovo. When they arrived they appeared distraught to have had to leave their homes, but remained calm and were found to be in good health conditions.