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North Macedonia: Wildfires DREF Operation n° MDRMK009 - Final Report

Macedonia del Norte
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A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Starting from 30 July 2021, the Republic of North Macedonia was struck by a heat wave that resulted in severe fires in several regions in the country. The first wave of fires was raging almost until 25 August. The wildfires were not under control despite the enormous efforts of the state institutions responsible for crisis management as well as the local population. The severe fires in numerous regions resulted in devastation of forests, fertile land, crops and property of the population. One casualty and several injured persons (inhaling smoke) have been reported. Numerous houses as well as other facilities have burnt down and were damaged in many villages.

On 4 August 2021, the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia declared a state of crisis on the whole territory of the country for a period of 30 days and it ended at the beginning of September 2021.

The most affected regions were as follows: Strumica, Kochani, Kumanovo, Gevgelija, Valandovo, Bitola and Prilep, Shtip, Berovo, Pehchevo, Delchevo Skopje, Radovish, Ohrid, Debar, Probistip, Kriva Palanka and Veles.

The overall coordination of the emergency situation due to the heatwave and fires in the country was done by the Crisis Management Centre. The response operation was supported by the national and local teams of the Fire Brigade, Crisis Management Center, Directorate for Protection and Rescue, the Army, and the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia, Ministry of Health and other responsible institutions and the local population.

Firefighters and local population were fighting the fires around the clock in various regions of the country. However, due to limited specialized firefighting equipment, wildfires continued to spread throughout the country.

EU Civil Protection was activated and through the mechanism and through the bilateral agreements, teams and international assistance arrived from Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Austria, Romania and Montenegro, and assisted the firefighting operation with aircrafts, equipment, vehicles, and human resources.

After the DREF operation started there were ongoing fires at several locations such as mountain Jablanica, Tetovo, Veles, Ohrid, Debar etc. but were controlled and extinguished.