As the weather gets colder, the number of migrants and refugees transiting through Macedonia continues to rise. Only a couple of months ago, the number averaged 2,000 a day. Today, the average is 4,000-5,000 refugees transiting on a daily basis, through Macedonia, to more permanent resettlement in the European Union countries.
The number of people asking for medical assistance each day at Macedonia’s two transit centers has also risen, to about 800 total requests per day.
Yesterday, the Project HOPE team again visited the General Hospital in Gevgelija, and the nearby transit center on the southern border of Macedonia with Greece. Last week, Project HOPE distributed its first shipment of donated medical supplies to support these medical facilities.
The hospital is receiving, on average, 15-20 patients a day. General fractures top the list of medical needs for the refugees. Consequently, HOPE’s donation including splints and bandage rolls has been put to immediate use. Donated examination gloves, syringes, masks, catheters and other supplies have also been put to use. The hospital staff told us they assisted a traveling mother in the birth of a healthy baby boy on September 29, which is the second birth that has taken place since the refugee crisis escalated in this hospital.
At the medical facility at the refugee transit center, the small medical team, including the doctor on site also emphasized that the Project HOPE-donated supplies are helping the small team provide better care. “The donated Tympanic thermometer makes our work much easier, especially with the pediatric patients,” the doctor said. “No such product was available to us prior to HOPE’s donation.”
At the time of our visit to the transit center, there were around 2,000 refugees waiting for the train to Kumanovo on the border with Serbia. It was clear that the women with babies, young children and men were not prepared for colder weather.
One young Syrian mother was waiting at the transit center for her husband to cross the border with another group of refugees. She told us she did not have any winter clothes. “It was summer when we started our journey,” she said. “My baby is only seven months old.” Thanks to the donations of clothes from the Macedonian people, the mother managed to find a jacket for her baby.
Since June 2015, the number of people that have been officially issued licenses to transit Macedonia is 102,753. No one expects that the crisis will come to an end any time soon.
In the meantime, the transit center is being adjusted for the upcoming colder weather. HOPE’s next shipment of donated medicines and supplies is scheduled to arrive within the month.
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