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Croat Med J. 2002 Apr;43(2):184-9.

Refugee crisis in Macedonia during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.

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  • 1Institute of Social Medicine, Joint Institutes of the Skopje, School of Medicine, 50 Divizia Street, No. 6, 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.


The Kosovo refugee crisis in the Macedonia in 1999 was unique in terms of its unprecedented magnitude against its short duration (sharp increase and sudden decrease in refugee population), its high visibility in the world media, and attention received by donors. In the late March 1999, after the launch of the NATO air campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, refugees from Kosovo began to enter Macedonia. Within 9 weeks, the country received 344,500 refugees. Aiming to provide an emergency humanitarian relief, United Nations, and international and national organizations together with the host country, donors, and other concerned parties coordinated and provided immediate assistance to meet the needs of refugees, including shelter in collective centers (camps) and accommodation in host families, nutrition, health care, and water/sanitation. The morbidity and mortality rates remained low due to the effective action undertaken by a great number of humanitarian organizations, backed up by strong governmental support. No significant epidemics developed in the camps, and there were no epidemic outbreaks during the crisis. Mortality rate of refugees was lower than in other emergency situations.

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