UNICEF says there has been a sharp rise in the number of women and children passing through the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, among the thousands of people fleeing violence and seeking refuge in Europe.
Figures from the country’s government suggest 80 percent are from Syria, with five percent from Afghanistan and five percent from Iraq.
“We estimate that every day 3,000 people pass through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A third of them are women and children – up from 10 per cent in June. Another important detail, well it’s more than just a detail, but some 12 per cent of the women are pregnant,” said UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac in Geneva.
Tens of thousands have been registered at the border reception centre in Gevgelija after entering from Greece.
According to the UN children’s programme, many families with children have been on the move for months in the summer heat, and arrive with only the clothes and shoes they are wearing.
“They are physically exhausted and in desperate need of a place to rest. Many are suffering dehydration, blisters, cold, diarrhea and sunburn,” UNICEF says.
The organisation is sending more water and tents to the border camp.
It has called for applications for refugee status at border points to be processed swiftly and fairly.