Migration: IFRC calls for response to growing humanitarian needs in Western Balkans

Publié: 21 août 2015

Geneva, 21 August 2015 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is appealing for greater support for tens of thousands of vulnerable migrants entering Europe through the Western Balkans route which links Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, and beyond.

Thousands of migrants pass through these countries every day, facing multiple challenges along the way.

IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy met yesterday with the Serbian Minister of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, Mr Aleksandar Vulin, who highlighted his concerns at the growing number, and extreme vulnerability, of people passing through his country. The President of the Red Cross of Serbia, Professor Dragan Radovanović also took part in the meeting.

“In Serbia – and in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece and Hungary – Red Cross volunteers and staff are doing all they can to support and protect vulnerable migrants,” said Mr Sy. “But they are stretched to capacity, and they need our help.”

In recent weeks, the IFRC has released 1.13 million Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the work of Red Cross societies in Greece, FYR of Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.

“We are committed to joining every effort to bring this response to scale,” said Mr Sy. “We count on our partners to do the same. People on the move need our urgent support.”

In FYR Macedonia, the Red Cross is providing food, water and blankets to thousands of people at the Gevgelija border crossing with Greece. Red Cross volunteers are stationed at both of the country’s main border crossings, providing first aid and care to people as they arrive.

“We are seeing a lot of tired, sick and hungry people, who have been travelling by foot for several weeks and sleeping rough. They are dehydrated, stressed, and desperate. These include mothers and babies, the elderly and children,” said Sasho Taleski, spokesperson for the Red Cross of the FYR of Macedonia.

In the past two months alone, an estimated 40,000 people have registered when entering FYR of Macedonia’s southern border with Greece.

The IFRC is urging a collaborative approach between all countries affected by the growing number of migrants, in order to manage the increasing challenges. People fleeing conflict, insecurity and persecution have a right to seek refuge and protection. Countries need to ensure that vulnerable people on the move are able to access essential humanitarian assistance.

For more information on IFRC’s migration work go to http://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/migration/ or www.ifrc.org/protecthumanity

For further information, please contact:

In Skopje:

  • Susanna Tuneva Paunovska, secretary, Skopje city branch, Red Cross of FYR Macedonia

E-mail: skopje@redcross.org.mk ¦ Mobile: +389 70 250 054


In Kos / Lesbos:

  • Angelica Fanaki, international relations/communication departments, Hellenic Red Cross

E-mail: angelicafanaki@gmail.com ¦ Mobile: +30 693 6695925


  • Stephen Ryan, emergency communication consultant, IFRC Europe

E-mail: stephen.ryan@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @stiofanoriain ¦ Mobile: +36 70 430 6500


In Belgrade:

  • Sladjana Dimic, responsible for communication and PR, The Red Cross of Serbia

E-mail: sladjana@redcross.org.rs ¦ Tel: +381 11 262 1425


In Geneva:

  • Reeni Amin Chua, public communications, IFRC

E-mail: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @reeniac ¦ Mob: +41 79 708 6273


  • Corinne Ambler, communications coordinator, migration, IFRC

E-mail: corinne.ambler@ifrc.org ¦ Twitter: @corinneambler ¦ Phone: +41 22 730 4696

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the worlds largest volunteer-based humanitarian network, reaching 150 million people each year through its 189 member National Societies. Together, the IFRC acts before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. It does so with impartiality as to nationality, race, gender, religious beliefs, class and political opinions. For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.