Community Support Projects in Municipalities Along the Refugee Route

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation in Skopje, only from July 2015 to March 2016 during the peak of the movement caused by raging wars and conflicts in the Middle East, most notably in Syria, nearly 800,000 people crossed the territory of the country and needed temporary assistance and protection.

As many as 97% of all arrivals registered by the Ministry of Interior originated from top refugee-producing countries, including 55% from Syria, 26% from Afghanistan and 15% from Iraq. There were also arrivals of people from Somalia, DR Congo, Eritrea, and other countries known as big refugee-producing countries.

Years before the refugee emergency peaked in 2015, the local population was already aware of the people using the railway tracks and roads to find their way through the country, just like they were aware of their need for basic assistance such as food, water, clothes and medicines. The local population living in towns and villages who are part of the so-called Balkan route, despite rarely receiving correct information from media about the people who were passing, knew that these people were refugees and that they had to help them in any way they could while traversing the country south-north.

Two years on, and after the official closing of the Balkan route in March 2016, the goodness of the local populations has not been forgotten, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation in Skopje and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) decided to support the local communities who showed and are still showing solidarity with the refugees, by implementing small infrastructure projects in order to improve the living conditions in these regions affected the most by the refugee flow, i.e. in the municipalities of Gevgelija, Valandovo, Bogdanci, Kumanovo and Lipkovo.

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