Supporting vulnerable migrants crossing into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Publié: 15 octobre 2015 12:00 CET

By Caroline Haga, IFRC

On the outskirts of the small town of Gevgelija a temporary camp has been set up by the train tracks for the vulnerable people crossing the border from Greece into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Hundreds of people gather there to wait for the next train which will take them across the country on their way to northern Europe.

The transit camp, just 600 metres from the border with Greece, provides short-term shelter for around 5,000 vulnerable people. People wait there for between 3-12 hours before boarding the train to the northern border with Serbia.The Red Cross of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia work with other humanitarian organization to ensure they are prepared for the onward journey.

“..we had everything but we lost it all..”

Hamdi, a father and former entrepreneur, is travelling with his wife and four children. They have been on the road for 10 days are are heading for Austria. “In Syria we had everything, but we lost it all due to the war,” he says. “We are hoping to get to Austria where our 15-year-old is living alone. He is not doing well by himself.”

Mohammad, a 20-year-old man from Syria, has experienced an even longer journey, travelling alone. He had to leave his family but hopes they will join him at some point.

“I cross the border this morning after a 27 day journey,” he says. “Before I could leave my country I was trapped for almost two weeks in Aleppo surrounded by bombs and violence, which was very scary. My plan is to travel to Germany because I want to become a nutritionist and I have heard that they have the best education.”

The Red Cross of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been providing extensive support ever since large numbers of people began arriving to the country. Dedicated staff and volunteers distribute food and water, hygiene kits, baby supplies and clothing, and also provide first aid, medical care and psychosocial support – including helping people to contact their families.

Hamdi says the trip had been long and difficult, but they could see the end of the journey and appreciated the constant support of the Red Cross along the way. “The only thing I hope for is a safe future for my family,” he says.