Volunteers in Tuzla halt activities, migrants now on their own

NEWS 05.03.2020 20:38
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Source: N1

The migrants staying at the Tuzla bus station are now completely on their own after the volunteers who helped them until now announced they are temporarily halting their activities because they lack resources while authorities have been ignoring the problem completely for the past two years.

More and more migrants are arriving in the northeastern city daily. Although Tuzla was seen as only a transit point for them before, the migrants now have no idea where to go next as surrounding countries closed their borders.

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They are stuck, hoping for any help they can get. Except for the Merhamet and Emmaus organisations, who will continue distributing meals to the migrants daily, nobody is there to help them now anymore.

“We have no food and no blankets for sleeping. That is a big problem,” said Sefi Han, from Afghanistan.

“The number of migrants has drastically increased at the beginning of this week,” Muamera Dzebic, from the MFS Emmaus organisation, told N1. “This week we are distributing 300 meals daily on average, while we did between 200 and 250 throughout last month.”

The volunteers told N1 they are tired and lack resources. One of them, Senad Piric, told N1 that one of the reasons for them halting their activities are the “frequent verbal, and sometimes even nearly physical” attacks they face.

“People come here and curse at us, they insult us, they say we are gathering them here. The people don’t see a difference between the humanitarian aspect and the security aspect, which someone else is supposed to be taking care of,” he said.

Those migrants who have just recently arrived at the Tuzla bus station have it the worst – they do not even have tents.

Muhamed Maharali, from Pakistan, told N1 he arrived in Tuzla a week ago and plans to go to Italy.

“I didn’t have a job or any money in Pakistan. My family is poor. I want my family to have a better future, I want a good job,” he said.

Akib Javed, also from Pakistan, told N1 that the biggest problem is that there is nowhere to sleep or take a shower.

Citizens and various NGOs had secured accomodation for more than 70 families throughout the past month. They said there are more and more cases of unaccompanied children arriving.

“Unaccompanied children are the most risky and most endangered category among this migrant population as they face numerous risks daily. They are not only exposed to the risks within the groups they travel with, but also to those of the environment where they arrive,” said Sabiha Srna, from the local ‘Zemlja djece’ NGO.