CLARKE COUNTY, Va. - For hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, they’ll use any means of transportation to trek over 2,000 miles to get to Western Europe.
"From what I can see, most of them are walking,” explained Dr. Dalibor Tasevski, a disaster response coordinator for Project HOPE, an international nonprofit organization based out of Clarke County.
“If [a] country host is organizing transportation, usually [the refugees] go by train,” Tasevski continued. “You can see a train full of huge groups of people, even standing on the doors and the windows."
Tasevski is one of five HOPE volunteers based in Macedonia. He spoke to WHAG via Skype on Thursday morning, to describe what he has witnessed since he began volunteering at the Macedonian transit center.
“We get about 4,000 refugees on a daily basis,” Tasevski said.
While the majority of the refugees Tasevski has come into contact with are crossing from Syria, a small minority are also coming from Iraq.
The refugees cross into Turkey, then Greece, before reaching the Macedonian transit centers, where they will spend - on a good day - no more than three to 12 hours before crossing into Serbia.
"The numbers now are becoming huge,” Tasevski said. “The Ministry [of Health] is exhausting their capacity in medicine, exhausting their capacity in people."
Overwhelmed with refugees and running out of resources, HOPE was the first non-government organization that the Ministry of Health reached out to for help.
HOPE is responsible for treating refugees suffering from things like dehydration, fractures and exhaustion.
After Serbia, refugees still have to cross through Hungary before they finally reach Western Europe - a place where they hope to begin a new life, free of a civil war.
"They are traumatized from the war in their cities,” Tasevski said. “Whenever a helicopter passes, [the children] jump on the floor and try to hide,” he said, speaking to some of the things he’s witnessed inside the transit centers.
“It's unrealistic that in the 21st century, people are lined up...waiting for somebody else to determine their destiny,” Tasevski said. “The worst thing is, is that there is no end in sight.”
While this is Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II, Macedonia is not a member of the European Union.
Project HOPE offers humanitarian assistance to more than 30 countries, and has provided about $67 million worth of medicines and supplies to Macedonia since 2007.