Italy will give Bosnia and Herzegovina 500,000 euros to help the country find a solution for the accommodation of hundreds of migrants who are currently stranded at the burnt-down Lipa tent camp, the Italian Embassy in BiH said on Wednesday.
The embassy said that Italy is closely following the situation in BiH following the closure of the Lipa camp last week and expressed concern regarding the lack of adequate accommodation and essential services for the migrants.ž
“To this end, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has decided to allocate 500,000 euros to the Red Cross which is operating on the ground and has asked the European Commission to take action to alleviate the suffering of these people,” Italy’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a press release.
Italy urged BiH authorities at all government levels to urgently find solution that will ensure assistance to the migrants and asylum seekers, especially considering the current weather conditions and the difficulties in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of migrants spent days without adequate shelter after the Lipa camp was shut down last Wednesday.
The IOM pulled out of the camp because the migrants staying there had no access to electricity, running water or sewage. The camp also did not provide shelter from the extreme weather conditions in the winter.
The Council of Ministers adopted a decision last week to turn the improvised tent camp into an official one that would provide adequate shelter and basic necessities to the migrants.
However, the migrants can not be there during the potential works in the camp, which are expected to last for months.
As the migrants were leaving, a fire broke out at Lipa and destroyed most of the tents.
State authorities first tried to relocate the migrants to the former migrant reception centre Bira in the nearby town of Bihac but local authorities opposed it and residents of the northwestern town started patrolling the area around the facility and said they would prevent the transfer of any migrants there.
On Tuesday, the Security Ministry tried to accommodate the migrants in a barracks in the southern village of Bradina, but this failed too due to resistance by local authorities.
The migrants spent the night on the buses and the police returned them to Lipa on Wednesday.