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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

'Please help us': Migrants endure Bosnia's winter

Duration: 01:53s 0 shares 3 views
'Please help us': Migrants endure Bosnia's winter
'Please help us': Migrants endure Bosnia's winter

Hundreds of migrants are taking shelter in abandoned buildings in and around the northwestern Bosnian town of Bihac, wrapping up as best they can against the snow and freezing weather and hoping eventually to reach EU member Croatia across the border.

Olivia Chan reports.

These migrants in Bosnia's Lipa camp are queuing in the snow for food.

The camp was set on fire late last year.

Until last week, an additional 900 people were left without shelter since the International Organization of Migrants - the IOM - decided to withdraw.

Bosnian authorities, who for months ignored requests from the European Union to find an alternative location, have now provided heated military tents and beds.

But hundreds of migrants are still living without a proper shelter.

Some took refuge in abandoned buildings around the northwestern town of Bihac.

Wrapping up as best they can against the snow and freezing weather, most of them await their opportunity to cross the border to Croatia - an EU member state.

Ali from Afghanistan, 16 years old, has been sleeping in an abandoned bus for almost six months after he left a Bihac camp.

There are about 8,000 migrants like Ali in Bosnia.

On Monday (January 11) the EU's foreign policy chief urged Bosnian authorities to improve dire humanitarian conditions and open centers more evenly distributed across the country.

The Serb and Croat-dominated parts of Bosnia refuse to accommodate any migrants, most of whom come from Muslim countries.

Natasa Omerovic is the IOM's camp manager and coordinator: "Currently, we are facing the second row of the humanitarian crisis, ongoing in this region since the past two years." On Sunday (January 10) evening, a group which found shelter in an abandoned house in Bihac, slept on the dirty concrete floor without water.

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