North Macedonia

ACT alert Macedonia: Floods

News and Press Release
Originally published
Geneva, 17 January, 2003 - Last week, Macedonia saw the beginning of heavy torrential rains which caused the rivers Konjarka and Lipkovska to overflow. In Kumanovo, northeast from Skopje, over 200 households were flooded which resulted in the evacuation of some 600 persons from the settlements of Sredorek and Bavci.
ACT member the Macedonian Center of International Cooperation (MCIC) reported that the greatest damage was inflicted upon these two predominantly Roma settlements. Also affected were five power stations in Kumanovo, leaving a part of town without electricity for 12 hours. The floods moved towards Kriva Palanka town causing landslides. Heavy rains also caused the River Vardar to overflow, affecting some 30 homes in Veles town, weekend houses and thousands of hectares of farm land in the Gevgelija area. All railway traffic was blocked for 24 hours.

The floods resulted in the loss of two lives; a woman was buried alive in her house when it collapsed, and a man died from a heart attack triggered by the sight of his flooded home.

Displacement: Some 4,000 people are affected by the floods, the majority being Roma population from Kumanovo. Most of them have found temporary shelter with host families, while some 400 persons are accommodated in collective centers.

Health Risks: There is a threat of water borne diseases such as typhus, paratyphus, diphtheria and hepatitis A.

Response: The Crisis Management Center which was established during the civil conflict in Macedonia, has been authorized to co-ordinate counter-flood actions. The regional civil protection units have distributed food, blankets, mattresses and clothes to the affected population. MCIC completed emergency distribution of basic food commodities and sleeping bags to the temporary shelters and a few other affected sites. Affected families were also assisted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In addition, the Macedonian government decided rendered social assistance to both displaced and host families.

MCIC will continue to monitor the situation and keep ACT CO informed. Should the crisis escalate, MCIC will consider delivering aid on a larger scale.

Thank you for your attention.

For further information please contact:

ACT Director, Thor-Arne Prois (phone +41 22 791 6032 or mobile phone + 41 79 203 6055) or
ACT Appeals Officer, Leila Dzaferovic (phone +41 22 791 6710 or mobile phone +41 79 757 9206)

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.

The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.