Refugee returns to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia drop
GENEVA, 9 Oct. (UNHCR) - The number of refugees returning to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from Kosovo and southern Serbia has dropped to 100 a day since the weekend, reflecting the slow implementation of an August peace agreement, UNHCR reported Tuesday.
Returnees told the agency that refugees were apparently waiting for an amnesty declaration expected this week before deciding whether to return.
The refugee agency said that more than 56,000 refugees returned since July, while some 26,000 remain in Kosovo. Revised figures from the [former Yugoslav Republic of] Macedonian Red Cross show 44,500 people internally displaced, around 60 percent of them ethnic Macedonians.
Meanwhile, UNHCR continued confidence-building projects as agency teams visited 70 of 91 war-affected villages. The refugee agency continued its assistance to both refugees and internally displaced persons returning to the conflict-affected areas. During the weekend it distributed 515 returnee kits in the Tetovo area containing mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, plastic sheets and hygiene items.
UNHCR teams last week also visited the ethnic Albanian village of Brodec, west of Tetovo, for the first time since fighting ceased in the area last July. Almost all of the town's pre-conflict population of 1,250 have returned to their homes from Kosovo, the agency said.
UNHCR has established a bus line to Tetovo to help secondary school children travel to their classes in the town.