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FYR of Macedonia: 2,000+ head home

Briefing Notes, 3 April 2001

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Kris Janowski to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 3 April 2001, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

At least 2,000 residents of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have headed back to their homes over the past few days, after fighting died down in the north of the country. Only a handful of people crossed from Macedonia to Kosovo over the weekend, while monitors of the border crossings between Macedonia and Albania saw hundreds of people headed back to Macedonia and virtually no people leaving. The number of Macedonian nationals in Turkey also dropped considerably, with hundreds heading back home daily. An unspecified number of people, who had sought safety in Macedonia's capital Skopje, have gone back to their homes in the Tetovo area. It was not immediately clear how many people have gone back since the fighting died down, but various border monitoring figures indicate that at least two thousand people have now returned to their homes. Virtually no returns have been reported from Kosovo, which hosts some 8,500 people. Many of them escaped from areas directly affected by the fighting. The U.N. mission in Kosovo today started registering the group. The registration, which was prepared by UNHCR, is designed to get a better idea of the number and the identity of people who have left Macedonia for Kosovo.



The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Refugees Onward JourneyPlay video

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Refugees Onward Journey

A transit centre at Vinojug, on FYR Macedonia's border with Greece is where the refugees and migrants pass through on their journey further into Europe. Here UNHCR and partner organisations provide food, water, medical care, psycho-social support and information for refugees who take the train towards the border with Serbia. UNHCR also provides information on how to access the asylum system in the country. In recent weeks, an average of 6,300 refugees pass through the camp every day, yesterday that number grew to 10,000, a record.
FYR Macedonia: Volunteers At HandPlay video

FYR Macedonia: Volunteers At Hand

Almost 300,000 refugees and migrants have passed through the Gevgelija transit center in the former Yusgoslav Republic of Macedonia, on their way to the EU since it was setup less than two months ago.
Serbia: Overstretched BordersPlay video

Serbia: Overstretched Borders

As Hungary builds a fence on its border with Serbia, the situation at the border between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece is increasingly precarious. Refugees in Serbia on their way to Hungry fear the tighter measures and say they wouldn't have fled home had they not been forced to do it by the war.