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Update 20.08.01 - Crisis infYROM

20-08-2001 Operational Update

 ICRC Skopje - 20.08.01  


The ICRC is hopeful that the successful conclusion of the recent political developments which have culminated in the signing of a peace agreement in fYROM indeed halt what seemed at one stage to be an inexorable slide into full-scale civil war in the country. It was always mindful that a political solution, and not massive flow of relief aid, was the only way of averting a major humanitarian crisis for the people of fYROM.

However, whilst the politicians and the international community tackle the root causes of the conflict, the ICRC is still very much preoccupied by responding to the effects of the fighting - displacement, isolation for resident populations in directly affected villages, people detained or held, or unaccounted for. These humanitarian consequences will endure for some time yet even if, as hoped, the situation continues to stabilise.

The ICRC hopes that an environment of safety will be firmly secured before people return to their homes. Through our constant contacts with the displaced populations from villages that have been directly affected by the fighting, they disclose a reluctance to return to their homes until they feel fully assured that their security is guaranteed.

 Human cost of the conflict so far:  


  • Around 60,000 people currently still registered as internally displaced inside fYROM (most of them from the Tetovo area). (This does not include those who left the country as refugees)

  • Thousands of people remaining in their homes have been directly affected by the conflict and are still cut off from their regular supply lines

  • Families separated by the conflict (ICRC so far evacuated around 1 000 people to be with their relatives)

  • People arrested by the Macedonian authorities or held by the NLA to whom the ICRC has not so far gained access.

 ICRC/Red Cross response so far:  


  • The ICRC has been the only international humanitarian organisation able to work in the villages directly affected by fighting

  • This has been achieved by constant dialogue with both sides in order gain trust and secure the relevant security guarantees to work in the conflict zones (negotiating ceasefires for the ICRC)

  • It has provided relief aid for all of the displaced people who have registered with the Red Cross as needing help (around 80,000, of which around 60,000 are still displaced). Most are staying with families - around 3000 are in temporary collective centres provided by the government, mainly in Skopje.

  • It has evacuated almost 1000 people from villages directly affected by the fighting to be reunited with their families - mainly from the Tetovo and Kum anovo areas At the same time, it has regularly brought food, hygiene and medical supplies to those remaining.

  • It has provided medical supplies to treat war-wounded to more than 17 different hospitals and clinics

  • It has systematically collected information on people either arrested by the Macedonian authorities or reportedly captured by the NLA as a result of the conflict and is working on trying to have confirmation from both sides and gain access to any still detained.

 The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is coordinating the Red Cross movement response to the crisis in fYROM, supported by the Macedonian Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. It is a strictly neutral, impartial humanitarian organisation whose role is to respond to victims directly affected by conflict. It works independent from any other political or international organisation.