Fifty people, of Roma origin, of which more than half are children have spent the first day of the New Year outdoors following an early morning, 5am blaze at a building that was formerly a Neuro-Psychiatric ward of the Clinical Hospital in Stip, which is presently a temporary residence for the homeless. The fire blazed across the roof and flames engulfed the front entrance doors, near to where tenants were sleeping. 14 families quickly vacated the building. But according to their testimonies, the fire was so strong it quickly engulfed the whole building.

“We were sleeping when the fire started, we ran, called the fire service who arrived quickly, we now need help from the Mayor and local politicians. We have nothing, everything we owned is burnt” said Erbihan Demirov, one of the tenants. While talking to some of those left on the street the temperature was two degrees below zero. Children were wearing only shoes without socks. There was a heavily pregnant woman along with several other adults. Tenants suspect the fire was started with gasoline. Advisor Ennis Demirova was the only visitor, she recorded details of the families who remained on the street, homeless. “For these families, we need someone to intervene and help with food, clothing and blankets. We will go to the Red Cross for any help on offer, otherwise these people are destitute. Fifty people are out in the open otherwise.” said Demirova.

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