Boosting response capacities
CEB funds ensure humane and timely assistance to migrants and refugees in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
Situated on the so-called Balkan route, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” had to deal with more than 800 000 migrants and refugees transiting through its territory since the beginning of the migrant crisis in Europe. The small country struggled to cope with an unprecedented influx, leading the government to declare the state of emergency in late 2015.
Thanks to the Migrant and Refugee Fund, established by the CEB in October 2015, the Bank was able to disburse rapid emergency aid to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” when it was most acutely needed. Since then, the country has benefitted from € 5.1 million in MRF funding, through grants to the government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
“The CEB/MRF project came right in time, contributing a lot to addressing the challenges and enhancing the response capacities in the peak of the migration crisis. The CEB/MRF funding helped to ensure safe, humane and timely assistance to refugees and migrants through setting up and enhancing the accommodation and medical infrastructure, as well as through strengthening the institutional capacities to respond to the massive migration flows”, said Gianluca Rocco, IOM’s Sub-regional coordinator for the Western Balkans.
A € 2.5 million grant to IOM financed the reconstruction and equipping of the Gevgelija Hospital and of the medical ambulance in Kumanovo, improving the conditions for medical care of migrants and refugees as well as the local population. The following items were provided in order to ensure adequate medical treatment: hospital beds, defibrillator for the border’s check point, aspirators, abdominal ultrasound for the Gevgelija Hospital, and an equipped medical vehicle for transporting the migrants in a need of hospital treatment.
The CEB-funded project also supported better registration of migrants and refugees at the border crossings. Previously, limited registration capacity of the border police left many migrants unregistered, with limited access to protection mechanisms and exposed to abuse. The CEB funds helped build expertise and acquire necessary technical equipment, as well as build capacity of 120 representatives from institutions involved in humanitarian border management.
“The modern IT equipment and the 24 vehicles donated enabled the Border Police to promptly enhance its registration capacities and mobility needed to effectively respond to the challenges imposed by the massive migration flows” said Marinko Kocovski, Assistant Director for Border Police at the Ministry of Interior.
“IOM and the Council of Europe Development Bank have proved to be truly partners of the country in our endeavour to enable safe, secure and human status of thousands of women, children and men transiting through our country”, he added.