05.11.2017, Prilep

Nastan, 11.05.2017Today was held an event for the presentation of the priority issues in the field of housing in the Roma settlement “Trizla”, based on the survey and extensive consultation with all relevant parties, where potential solutions were elaborated. The event was organized in partnership between the association ROMA S.O.S, Habitat Macedonia [1] and the National Democratic Institute [2], and was attended by the Mayor and representatives of local government, public utility companies, associations, councilors from various political parties, relevant local institutions and Roma.

Introduction. Prilep is the second municipality in Macedonia in number of Roma population, and locally up to 6.0% of the total population according to official statistics. However unofficial number exceeds 8,000 Roma.

Settlement. In “Trizla” which is located on the peripheral part of the city, nearly 90% of the population are Roma. The settlement is divided into 4 areas, according to locals, with its separate parts: Novo Selo, Dabnichka (Tri Bagremi), Meksiko (with Debarca) and Deboj.

What are the identified problems?

1. Parts out of GUP and DUP. Tri Bagremi and part of Debarca are not included in the construction area because of which the residents are facing a series of challenges in access to all public services.

2. Legalization. Soon most of the homes in “Trizla” will be legalized. But there is a section of homes whose status has not been regulated since the houses were built outside the construction zone that is located in Tri Bagremi and Debarca.

3. Moisture in the homes. Homes built in the higher rocky areas face moisture and damage on the walls, especially due to natural influences. Above all, those are the houses located beside the storm water drain channel in Debarca.

4. Electricity. Dabnichka faces major obstacles in terms of connection to the power grid as a consequence the Tri Bagremi has no suitable and legal access to the network, and residents from across the region access to electricity through the same substation.

5. Street lighting. The order and speed of setting or replacing the street lights and power lines around the neighborhood is inappropriate and untimely because of which the movement at night is more difficult.

6. Hygiene. The collection of waste is generally unsatisfactory because there are no street containers placed around the neighborhood. Once a week PUC “Komunalec” takes the waste from homes, but the families are unable to provide bins for sorting of waste as they are not free.

7. Health and safety of residents.

-Unregulated traffic. The movement of pedestrians is in danger because of the increased number of negligent drivers of motor vehicles without proper documentation and age. Parallel to this the situation is exacerbated by the absence of marked pedestrian crossings, lack of sidewalks or usurpation of the existing by the local residents / businesses.

DSC_0366-Unregulated riverbed on “Dabnichki zavoj.” In the past years there have been cases of death and injuries to children living along the river bank. There is continuous generating of waste in the riverbed that turns into a landfill, and through different periods of the year, emerging epidemics of infectious diseases among nearby residents.

-Uncontrolled usurpation of streets. The whole settlement in last year has turned into “platz” to dissipate useless, old, corroded motor vehicles by individual local residents, as the whole population is directly exposed to noise, environmental pollution from various chemicals, bacterial infections and blockages in traffic.

What are the recommended solutions?

⇒ To “de-ghettoize” neighborhood “Trizla” that is to invest in construction of residential buildings or individual objects for living of Roma families at risk in areas where the municipality has created conditions for housing and access to public services (or out of the settlement).

⇒ To lay public containers around the neighborhood with a focus on the main streets, which will provide better sanitation for residents.

⇒ To rebuild and further regulate bypass channel storm water drains in Debarca and to take measures to protect nearby homes from moisture.

⇒ To determine the need for replacement of street lights around the neighborhood and to proportionally lay power lines to allow normal and safe movement of residents at night.

⇒ To lay artificial bumps (“lying policeman”) and traffic signs for notifying the main streets, and to mark pedestrian crossings to move around the neighborhood.

⇒ To prepare a plan for coordinated regular audits and field actions in the settlement by the Police Station Prilep in cooperation with public utility companies and LSG, and to take immediate measures to remove obstacles from sidewalks and streets that usurp public space or pose a risk to the health and safety of residents.

⇒ To put a fence for protection around the riverbed on “Dabnichki zavoj” to clean waste from the riverbed and lay public containers beside the fence. Paving on the same street to be part of the solution.

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A joint effort is required to provide: better overall picture of the city, better health for the population and better ecological and safer environment for all citizens.

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[1] Promotion of Initial study for housing – result of the project “Housing rights of Roma for sustainable urban development”, funded by European Union and implemented by Habitat in cooperation with association ROMA S.O.S. from Prilep, Cherenja from Shtip and Sumnal from Skopje. 

[2] Presentation of Municipal profile – result of the project “Strengthening of Roma participation in the democratic process”, implemented by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), in cooperation with the association ROMA S.O.S., funded by National Endowment for Democracy (NED ), which includes total of 8 municipalities.