Europe and Caucasus

Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has been working in various displacement settings in Europe and the Caucasus since the beginning of the 1990’s when wars and conflicts followed the dissolution of the former Soviet Union as well as the height of the war followed from the break-up of former Yugoslavia.

In the Balkans, DRC was bringing in convoys carrying emergency aid – an effort followed by 18 years of reconstruction, aid to returning refugees and providing support NGOs and civil society.

DRC programmes have been established in Serbia 1993 and in Kosovo 1998. DRC has responded to the complex and unresolved problem of refugees and internally displaced in the war-torn region through different but at the same time interdependent humanitarian initiatives. DRC has been responsible for a wide variety of programmes ranging from emergency relief aid operations to long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2010, DRC is still one of the most experienced international humanitarian organizations in the Balkan region with operations in Serbia and Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia.

With the latest increasing influx of refugees from the crisis in the Middle East and Central Asia into Europe, reception capacities have been pressured above their limits. DRC has been a central organization in the response in Serbia; and are currently re-entering Macedonia and opening a humanitarian program in Greece as a response to the current refugee situation, building upon the organization’s long-term presence in the Balkans as well as experience with registration, emergency situations and protection.

DRC began operating in Caucasus in 1996. Since then the region has been the scene of a number of wars and conflicts – civil-war in Georgia, conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Chechen wars which resulted in large numbers of internally displaced and refugees and finally the conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008.

The humanitarian effort in Caucasus have included a variety of different initiatives aimed at both acute and long-term solutions to the problem of displacement – such as emergency aid, reconstruction, micro-loans and supporting the civil institutions.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced have received help through DRC - but problems related to displacement remain a serious challenge in Caucasus. Both private companies and major international donors such as the UN and the EU are contributing to the important and ongoing humanitarian effort in Caucasus.

With the latest eruption of crisis erupted in Ukraine in 2014, DRC decided to re-enter, after previously having been present during two different terms, implementing successful returning, capacity building and protection programmes. DRC responded to the recent crisis launching protection and winterization /cash transfer activities on behalf of internally displaced persons in Ukraine, focusing on as well government as non-government controlled areas, among the most vulnerable whose lives are increasingly at risk.