MCIC Situation report Macedonia no. 01/2001

For the week ending 10 June 2001, Skopje

Displaced people

Since the beginning of the crises, more than 40,000 people have been so far displaced. According to the UNHCR, up to now, there are 30,000 registered refugees from Macedonia in Kosovo. The number of refugees has still been increasing in the past few days, which is the result of the occupation of the village of Aracinovo by the militant extremists. Therefore, on Saturday 9th June there were 4,466 registered refugees who crossed the border into Kosovo, and on Sunday, up to midday, this number went up to 1,000. According to the UNHCR, the number of people who are leaving Macedonia for Kosovo is not decreasing.

Around 50 inhabitants of the village of Aracinovo, ethnic Macedonians, demanded a meeting with the President Boris Trajkovski on Sunday. According to them, the President had promised that they would be settled with their families, during the crisis. From the region of Aracinovo there are both Macedonian and Albanian refugees.

The displacement continues from the area around Aracinovo, too. The Macedonian Red Cross so far has registered 20,399 displaced people, 14,859 of them from the villages around Kumanovo, 2,450 from Skopska Crna Gora, and 2,261 from the villages around Tetovo.


The water problem


For almost five days the population of Kumanovo had no water. The reasons are the closed valves on the Lake Lipkovo, the only water source for the town.

Security forces cannot enter and open the valves, because the militant extremists control them. The city is supplied with water by cisterns. Most of the sick people from Kumanovo hospital hav been transferred to Skopje, and restaurants have been ordered to close.


Some quarters of Tetovo and high buildings are without drinking water. The reason for this is the reduced electrical power in the Popova Shapka area, that prevents the running of four hydroelectric power plants and pipelines. To fix the defect in transmission lines, that were supplying these hydroelectric power plants will need more than 15 days. At the moment, water pressure in Tetovo is 200 litres per sec.,which is enaugh for the minimal needs of the town.

Other effects

The approach of the crisis to the capital had caused a panic among the citizens. This was shown in the increased expenditure on basic food products, flour, sugar, fat, as well as mineral water. After the ultimatum was published, there were long queues at petrol stations.

The exchange rate of the German Mark (DEM) has increased unbelievably to 36 MKD for one Mark (the exchange rate of the National Bank of Macedonia is 31.25 MKD for one Mark), but even despite this fact, private exchange offices and the banks do not sell DEM, they just are buying them.


The response of MCIC

Previous activities

At the beginning of the crisis, MCIC and other five NGOs in Macedonia signed a Mutual Statement for nonviolent solution of the conflict, The Statement was singed by other NGO's, too.

MCIC has published several documents, concerning Macedonia and the overcoming of the situation created here. The documents are published in the integral form for more transparency, concerning the information of the citizens.

At the end of March and the beginning of April 2001, MCIC had organised the distribution of food and hygiene parcels for 3000 families in Tetovo, Kumanovo, Skopje and several other places, where displaced people were placed. The distribution was carried out by local partners.

Ongoing activities

At the moment, identification of the problem is going on and we are looking of opportunities for helping the displaced people who are not getting any help, but also opportunities for helping to overcome the problems with water in Kumanovo and Tetovo are being considered.

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