Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Extreme Winter Condition Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRMK003

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 28 December 2014, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was hit by heavy snowfalls that resulted in snow drifts, two meters high in some places, limiting the movement of all types of vehicles on many highways and mountain corridors, cutting the communication with a number of mountain villages. The electricity lines were also cut in some of the regions, the most affected ones being Ohrid, Struga, Debar, Kichevo, Skopje, and Makedonski Brod. For more than ten hours about 150 vehicles with 500 drivers and passengers were stranded on the Skopje – Ohrid highway due to the heavy snowfall.

The shortage of electricity lasted almost for week and somewhere more in a number of multiple municipalities such as Ohrid, Debarca, Struga, Vevcani, Debar, Centar Zhupa, Mavrovo and Rostushalasted. Although the Energy Supply Company (EVN Macedonia) immediately deployed workers to repair the network, which was seriously damaged, the circumstances did not allow for a fast recovery of the network. The massive snow, the cold weather and the winds with a force of approximately 100 km per hour in the mountain area hampered the quick restoration of the infrastructure.

Due to the critical conditions, the Macedonian Red Cross conducted a relief operation for the most vulnerable population in those areas in cooperation with the local branches and state authorities which are part of the System for Crisis Management