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NGO Role in the Crisis in Macedonia

The Humanitarian Aid and the Crisis

The non-governmental (civic) organizations have had significant activities during the crisis in Macedonia. Those activities were multi-directional: humanitarian aid, the multicultural cooperation support, non-violent ways of solving the conflicts, as well as civic participation in the decision-making processes. In two series, we are going to make a review and assessment of the NGOs’ involvement in those activities. The first part reflects upon the humanitarian aid.

The humanitarian conditions in Macedonia

The have been immediate consequences from the violence. Primarily, those were displaced and exiled people who need shelter and humanitarian aid. The number of displaced people was the biggest in the month of August, amounting about 120,000 people, that is, 75,000 in the country and 45,000 abroad, and until December it decreased to 26,000 people, 14, 000 of which were displaced in the country. Those were communities such as Vratnica and Lipkovo, which, due to the conflicts had limited movement and disabled distribution, as well as communities where the old chronic problems were emphasized again, for instance, the water supply in Kumanovo and Tetovo. Those were also communities where the damages have been done to the houses, the infrastructure and the agriculture. About 5,200 houses have been damaged, half of them in the area of Kumanovo and the remaining half in the areas of Skopje and Tetovo.

NGO humanitarian response

NGOs and the agencies related to the UN and the Red Cross and Crescent Movement provided the greatest part of the response.

The national NGOs were probably the key-distributors of humanitarian aid to the regions of crisis, especially to those with limited access. (chart 1)

Chart 1. Aid from national NGOs, June – December (source: NGO humanitarian coordination)
NGO\municipalities Amount/Price Kumanovo Tetovo Skopje Others Total
MCIC 78/2 130/16 88/21 26/8  21/10 343/57
El hilal   411/177 118/49 99/41 10/4 638/2711
Other NGOs   331/18   80/36   411/54
Total 78/2 872/211 206/70  205/85 31/14 1392/382

These data refer to tons of food/thousands of items hygienic products. The figures are given by municipalities (only a part of the villages has been included). Other NGOs are: Natira, Mother Teresa, Jeta, Merhamet, Klasje na dobrinata, SAZM, Flora.

Chart 2. The overall aid in food

Agency Total (tones)
National NGOs 1,392
Intersos 2,192
AAH 1,127
MPDL 413
ICRC 4,326
During the conflicts and in the moments of (mis)use or limiting the humanitarian aid in July 2001, the national NGOs sent this message: “Let us support the peace with humanitarian aid”, defending the humanitarian aid’s right to approach and objectiveness. In the first two months, the aid for the displaced people in the families was completely provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and it was further provided by three agencies (Intersos, Italy; MPDL, Spain; Action Against Hunger-AAH, France) receiving support from the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). The World Food Program (WFD) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) provided humanitarian aid for the returnees.

The Government took care of about 3,000 displaced people at the collective centers (budget facilities) and it was also in charge of the short and long-term water supply in Kumanovo and Tetovo. The aid for reparation and reconstruction of conflict damages, with some rare exceptions (such as the field sanitation in Aracinovo) comes from the foreign agencies and the NGOs. In the year 2001, about 80% of the damaged houses have been repaired. The reparation of 1st and 2nd category (small) damages was done by the MCIC and two agencies financed by the UNHCR and other agencies financed by the German, Danish and other governments, and the reparation of the 3rd and 4th category damages (significant damages and destroyed houses) was done by several agencies, among which the International Management Group, European Perspectives and others, supported by the EU and USAID, THE Dutch, Greek and other governments. Several NGOs provide cattle food and other aid.

Part: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Questions and dilemmas concerning the humanitarian aid


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