Migratory crisis: SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL opens a mission in the Balkans

Published on Monday 25 April 2016

After an unprecedented intervention in France last June in Calais’s slums, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is now bringing its humanitarian aid to deprived families to the Balkans, in Greece and Macedonia, the preferred transit countries for Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and many more who have fled their countries at war and crossed the Mediterranean. An action motivated by the necessity of a humanitarian response that will meet the migrants’ basic needs as they continue to arrive in droves.



Between October 2015 and April 2016, about 517,000 people transited through Macedonia, reaching an average per day of 2,900 in December. (Source: UNHCR)

Welcoming structures were efficiently put in place in the territory. Nevertheless, they don’t enable good management of populations which are today blocked in the countries as they are prevented from continuing on their road. The consequence of the lack of hygiene and sanitation is inhumane living conditions triggering increased risks to public health.

Since the border closing with Macedonia, over 11,000 people in Greece have been waiting in Idomeni camp, where migrants’ reception conditions are at a strict minimum.

As close as possible to the needs

Diminish the suffering of populations in movement, by covering their basic needs with dignity: drink, food, shelter. This is the objective for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s new intervention, which has deployed its teams in Macedonia,” explains Alexandre Giraud, Director of Operations. “We are positioned as close as possible to the needs: within the transit camps, now overpopulated, under equipped reception centres due to border closings – in Gevgelija (Greek frontier) and Tabanovce (Serbian border) and also along the roads taken by migrants.”


  • Drinkable water distribution
  • “Hygiene” dignity kits distribution (a container, a plastic bucket, a 1 litre jar, baby and hand wipes, hydro-alcoholic gel, anti-lice shampoo, a nail clipper)
  • Trash cleaning and management on the Tabanovce site
  • Chemical latrines maintenance


Picture : Anaïd de Dieuleveult / Hans Lucas for Solidarités International

An intervention based only on the notion of needs

A sudden acceleration in the influx of populations, solidarity efforts of host populations which become insufficient and can no longer be accompanied and reinforced, overwhelmed States, lack of coordination if not of political commitment, all being linked to the distrust of a part of the public opinion and to the underlying geopolitical issues… Problems which we are facing today in Europe with the refugee crisis are also the ones faced by our organization on our usual intervention fields,” indicates Jean-Yves Troy, General Director of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL. “This crisis, which is hitting Europe very hard, is actually a situation we are used to handling elsewhere. Therefore, we asked ourselves the same questions we need to answer before any intervention in the case of conflict, epidemic or natural disaster: what is the relevance of our action, our added value as an NGO in this crisis, our means, without ever forgetting that our action is only based on the notion of humanitarian need. After leading evaluations in many areas and countries, meeting aid stakeholders on site, (NGOs, States, civil society, etc.) and initiating our first emergency actions, it appeared obvious to us that thousands of families need support from our humanitarian organisation. Just as those we are helping in Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan or elsewhere.”


Fifteen years after leaving the Balkans, where we had brought our humanitarian assistance to populations trapped in war, and then participated in the reconstruction (Bosnia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia), SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL is back in Europe. This time it is facing a crisis which is, amongst other factors, the consequence of the 5-year Syrian conflict.


The emergency assistance to victims of conflict, natural disasters and epidemics, extended by help to early recovery, has been the guiding purpose of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL humanitarian association for over 35 years. Access to water, hygiene and sanitation is the heart of our teams’ expertise and their field interventions. Currently present in about twenty countries, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL brings vital humanitarian assistance to over 5 million people, without any other consideration than their needs, with full respect of their dignity, without judging or taking sides, the keystones of humanitarian action.


Contact :Tugdual de Dieuleveult – Publications and press relations Manager
Tel : +33 1 76 21 87 11
Mail : tdedieuleveult@solidarites.org