Housing repair project in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Briefing Notes, 24 September 2002

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 24 September 2002, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR will hand over its housing repair effort in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the European Commission by the end of this year as part of a plan to gradually phase out UNHCR's operations in the Balkans. Since August of last year, UNHCR has overseen the repair of 85 percent of some 7,000 houses damaged during last year's fighting, allowing tens of thousands of people uprooted by the conflict in FYROM to return to their homes.

The 32 million Euro shelter project is seen as a vital element of the international effort to bring peace and stability to FYROM and reconcile communities divided by the conflict. The housing project covered homes of virtually all of the country's ethnic groups: Albanians, Macedonian Slavs, Serbs and Roma. Under an agreement reached with the European Union last year, UNHCR was supposed to supervise the most urgent repairs of houses that suffered light to moderate damage, while the European Commission would oversee the effort rebuild heavily damaged homes.