Conflict in Macedonia Update May 2001

from Catholic Relief Services
Published on 02 May 2001
Refugees fleeing fighting in Macedonia, had a bitter journey as they crossed into Kosovo. They came across small, sometimes snowy mountain passes on foot bringing with them the few items they could carry. They were escaping the fighting in their home country of Macedonia and trying to find safety in another land. Catholic Relief Services sent vehicles to wait for the travelers and then transported thousands of these refugees from the brutal mountains down to Prizren, Kosovo. Once in Prizren, the refugees were placed with host families, some of whom graciously accepted as many as 20 people. Ironically, many of these same Kosovar families were refugees themselves only two years ago. In some cases, those in Prizren are hosting families that hosted them. Refugees have been overwhelmed by the hospitality they have received.
CRS Distributions in Prizren, Kosovo (as of mid-April)
liters of milk
liters of oil
Hygiene kits
3-day ration packs
liters of water
7-day ration packs
hygiene kits
As needed
kitchen sets
As needed

Catholic Relief Services Responds

As many of the host families are already struggling to make ends meet, Catholic Relief Services is providing both the refugees and the families with daily food rations and non-food household items. But, the Agency's commitment doesn't end with food and necessities' distributions. Staff in Kosovo and Macedonia are deeply concerned with promoting peace. To demonstrate their commitment, Agency staff in Macedonia has initiated the Blue Ribbons-for-Peace campaign in Skopje. "We are trying to act as a catalyst here to promote peace," said Price. "We are not presenting this as a Catholic Relief Services campaign, but as what we hope will be a mass movement for peace."

In addition to meeting the needs of the refugees, Catholic Relief Services will soon begin distributing horse feed in Kosovo. Many refugees brought livestock with them when they fled Macedonia. As a main source of economic livelihood, the animals were precious cargo and it's necessary for the families that they too survive this ordeal.


Just two years after the world watched the region around Yugoslavia's province of Kosovo deteriorate, tensions rose again. This time the neighboring country of Macedonia suffered from fighting that forced tens-of-thousands of refugees to flee to Kosovo for safety. The Macedonian government tried to pacify aggressive ethnic Albanian militants operating in the areas surrounding Tetovo, Macedonia, a predominantly Albanian town close to the border with Kosovo. Although the situation has calmed, few refugees have returned to Macedonia.

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