(New York: 17 August 2006): The Government of The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has requested international support to assist people affected by recent floods and mudflows in that country.
In early August 2006, heavy rains caused floods and mudflows in the two poorest suburbs of Skopje, the capital. The floods damaged two suburbs, Cento and Singelic, which were built after the earthquake of 1963. The affected areas are northeast of the capital in the municipality of GaziBaba, as well as in the rural community of Ingikovo. According to a first assessment undertaken by the municipal authorities, approximately 1,500 people (300 families) have been affected and have been evacuated to their friends' or relatives' houses in other districts.
While no deaths have been reported, extensive damage to homes has been registered, and most of the infrastructure in Cento and Singelic has collapsed. Many houses were flooded and electricity was disrupted. The floods also destroyed household vegetable gardens, and the population is reportedly in need of food. Because of the combination of water, mud and high temperatures, the possible outbreak of diseases is one of the authorities' major concerns.
National authorities including the Directorate for Protection and Rescue, the Municipal Public Company and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Red Cross have jointly responded to the emergency. According to these institutions, the most urgent needs are for food supplies and non-food items including hygiene kits, mattresses, blankets and kitchen-sets.
OCHA is prepared to accept cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in support of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the country.
For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; Kristen Knutson, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int.