Fighting has displaced more than 100,000 ethnic Albanians and Macedonians
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia - Fighting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) has forced more than 100,000 people from their homes since February.
The number of recent crossings varied from day to day.
On Thursday, just under 600 people crossed the border, down from about 1,000 the day before.
Those who crossed on Thursday said they were coming from a village outside of Tetovo, which they said had come under artillery fire by FYROM forces trying to flush out the rebels.
Others said they were coming from Skopje because of mounting tensions between ethnic communities there. Among them were people who had sought refuge there after being displaced from other areas but who had now decided to leave FYROM altogether.
On Monday, UNHCR appealed to donors for US $17.5 million in emergency assistance during the next six months to help more than 70,000 refugees who have fled to Kosovo and Serbia and 30,000 internally displaced within FYROM.
"UNHCR must be prepared for a worst-case scenario, even though it is not too late for a peaceful solution to be found," UNHCR's special envoy for the region, Eric Morris said.
Since the conflict in FYROM began in late February, local organizations and community networks have played a key role in what has thus far been a successful emergency response.
But Morris warned that the crisis was placing an increasing burden on the local population in Kosovo and the requested emergency funds would enable UNHCR to support host families which were sheltering refugees.
The funds would also provide food and other assistance to the affected population and help prepare the groundwork for more refugee flows in the region.
On Monday, the agency opened a 'full service' registration centre in Kosovo which could shelter as many as 14,000 civilians should the need arise. The agency has also been identifying gaps in emergency assistance and possible longer terms needs, including shelter and heating.
The agency renewed earlier calls to the FYROM government and ethnic Albanian armed groups to reach a peaceful solution through talks.
"Only when all the refugees and displaced persons in the region have been able to return to their homes will their finally be peace in Southeast Europe," Morris said.