Refugees suffer subzero weather in Bosnia, new tents in Lipa

Most EU funds to IOM but Bosnian institutions got 3.3 mn euros

19 January, 14:28

    SARAJEVO - In the northwestern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina, migrants continue to suffer without adequate housing and at the mercy of snow and temperatures that have plunged to well below zero.

    A few hundred refugees in the woods around the town of Velika Kladusa, on the border with Croatia, have created a makeshift set city in an attempt to keep as warm as possible.

    Fires are lit using wood and other materials. Lacking hot water, they wash themselves in the freezing mountain streams.

    These waterways, once crossed without running into Croatia police, as all hope, lead over the border into EU territory, the last step on the route towards countries in Western Europe.

    The situation is now better in the Lipa camp, about 20 kilometres from Bihac, run by the local authorities, where migrants stay in tents with heating set up by the Bosnian armed forces. They do not yet have hot water, however.

    It would be helpful if a few hundred containers held by international organizations could be transfered to Lipa that are not being used after the closure of the Bira camp in Bihac.

    Repeated protests by inhabitants backed by the local authorities prevented the transfer of hundreds of migrants to the Bira camp. There is also a lack of food in Lipa and two hot meals a day are not enough despite efforts by the Bihac Red Cross, the only humanitarian organization still working in Lipa.

    Most EU funds allocated to deal with the migration crisis in Bosnia thus far have been managed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which withdrew from Lipa at the end of last year.

    IOM sources said that the total amount allocated by the EU to the IOM or partner organizations (UNICEF, UNHCR, DCR, UNFPA) from June 2018 to now is 76,851,217 euros. Of this, as of December, some 51,560,327 euros had been spent.

    The remaining funds, currently in IOM accounts, will provide aid until July 2021 worth 25,290,890.

    The EU has given 3.3 million euros total to Bosnian institutions, according to an IOM report, There are seven migrant reception centers set up in Bosnia since 2018, five of which in the Una-Sana canton in the northwest near Sarajevo.

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