North Macedonia

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


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, and cutting the communication with a number of mountain villages. 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, some 150 vehicles with 500 drivers and passengers were stranded on the Skopje – Ohrid highway due to the heavy snowfall. The electric power cuts lasted for a week or longer in a number of 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 seriously damaged network, the circumstances did not allow for a fast recovery of the electricity services. The affected areas are situated mainly in the mountains and the access of the necessary equipment and technicians was therefore more difficult. To ensure a more rapid recovery, the state also engaged the Airborne Unit of the Ministry of Interior to assist in the transport of the workers.
Due to the critical conditions, the Red Cross of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - in cooperation with the local branches and state authorities - conducted a relief operation for the most vulnerable population in those areas which are part of the System for Crisis Management.