US Government Assistance in 2001

Overview of US Government 2001
Emergency Shelter Assistance Program in FYROM

The USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) recently initiated an emergency winterization program in FYROM to respond to the shelter needs of 1,800 conflict-affected families.

Approximately 5,800 families sustained damage to their homes during the conflict, and over 130,000 people were displaced at the height of the conflict. Current estimates suggest that roughly 53,000 people remain displaced in FYROM, with an additional 25,000 displaced people remaining in Kosovo.

Response Goal: Occupancy of safe, secure, private, habitable, and winterized living space by 1,800 households in need of shelter no later than 10 December 2001.

Response Options: Although several in-country options were identified and analyzed, the coming onset of winter, the difficulty of resolving several important issues (e.g., access and security), and the uncertainty regarding funding commitments of other donors, has resulted in a focus on the following activities:

  • Host/Guest Family support program in and out of conflict-affected areas to assist roughly 60 percent of beneficiary IDP/returnee and host families for up to nine months.
  • Dry/Warm Winterization to rehabilitate space for roughly 40 percent of beneficiary IDP/returnee families, to enable them to live on their property through the winter. This option is designed to be similar to the H/GF option above, i.e., it will feature use of permanent construction materials to create a core, "dry/warm" room for beneficiary households, consistent with internationally-recognized guidelines for emergency shelter provision. This option will be located primarily in houses with "Category 1" damage, as defined by the UNHCR-IMG damage classification system.

These shelter options will not serve as substitutes for, or alternatives to, planned housing reconstruction work by the EU or others, but rather as transitions to that work from current conditions. Ideally, these shelter options will be coordinated with EU activities, or even integrated into them, to fully ensure that all those in need of reconstruction can obtain it in the future. The UNHCR has assumed the important task of coordinating emergency and reconstruction shelter activities, and is fully supported by OFDA and PRM.

OFDA is funding two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to create habitable, winterized living space for 1,000 households. Shelter Now International (SNI) will assist 600 households in the Aracinovo and Kumanovo areas, while Mercy Corps (MC) will assist 400 households in the Tetovo area.

PRM is funding two NGOs to support returns and stabilization of communities in the Tetovo and Kumanovo areas. Within larger projects, MC and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) will create habitable, winterized living space for 800 households. MC will assist 400 households in the Tetovo area, while IRC will assist 400 vulnerable households in the Tetovo and Kumanovo areas.

Shelter Delivery: OFDA and PRM implementing partners will rely on the use of local building materials, local building expertise, and local building practices to provide emergency shelter assistance. Specifically, the implementing partners, together with local communities and building contractors, will transform 28 square meters of space into habitable, winterized shelter, consistent with the internationally-recognized Sphere Project specification of 3.5 sq. m. of living space/person for a prototypical family of eight people.

Recent, Local Experience Serves as a Guide: OFDA and PRM have based their program on the highly successful Host Family/Social Case Support program funded by OFDA in FYROM in 1999. The program was implemented, in part, by SNI and MC, and featured the use of local suppliers and construction firms to complete a notional package of repairs required to transform 21 sq. m. (six persons @3.5 sq.m./person) of space into habitable, winterized shelter. Exclusive of overhead, this repair package was estimated at $650, and was complemented by a deliverables package (mainly firewood) of $250. The program was completed in four months, cost approximately $2.5 million, and created living space for 2,372 households (15,470 people). Repair activity also improved housing quality in local communities. Finally, at least 80 percent of program cost, or roughly 151,000,000 Denars, was invested in the local economy to purchase needed labor and material inputs. Based on experience elsewhere, this investment in the local economy probably resulted in the generation of an additional 750,000,000 Denars in economic activity. It should be no surprise, then, that the 1999 OFDA emergency shelter program was supported enthusiastically by FYROM government officials.

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