FACTS & FIGURES
Over 815 000 refugees and migrants crossed through the country in 2015
EU humanitarian funding: over € 4.7 million since the start of the refugee crisis in 2015
In 2015, over 815 000 refugees and migrants passed through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on their way to Serbia, Hungary and Croatia. Catering for these people in need was a challenge that put the response capacities of the country, with its two million inhabitants, to the test. The EU has provided humanitarian funding of over € 4.7 million to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to help with the provision of emergency assistance. The country is also is prone to heavy flooding, and has benefitted from assistance from the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism in both 2015 and 2016.
What are the needs?
In 2015 and 2016, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, like other countries in the Western Balkans, was confronted with a massive influx of refugees and migrants in transit from Greece to Serbia and then to Hungary or Croatia. Displaced persons mostly arrived from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2015, the estimated influx was of over 815 000 refugees. After the closure of the so-called Western Balkans route and the entry into force of the EU-Turkey deal, arrivals dropped in 2016 to around 90 000.
Many of the refugees were ill-equipped for the arduous journey, with little funds and few winter clothes. Some were exhausted from the long trip, while others needed medical attention for chronic ailments.
In March 2016, after the closure of the Western Balkans route, refugees and migrants who were in transit became stranded. Many lived for weeks in dire conditions, sleeping on benches, on the floor of collective sites or in tents. However, thanks to the national response and EU funding, and in part to people moving onwards on their journey into Europe, the humanitarian caseload has significantly reduced since 2016. For over a year, the number of refugees inside the country has been between 50 and 70, and the situation has stabilised.