Migrants at Lipa camp in Bosnia: Help us, we are freezing here (PHOTO)

NEWS 02.01.2021 15:44
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Source: Anadolija/Alen Mehić

It is now raining at camp Lipa in northwestern Bosnia and hundreds of migrants who have been stranded there for days have lit a fire to warm up, while some refuse to enter the military tents the Bosnian Armed Forces set up, demanding to be relocated since the camp does not provide adequate shelter from the winter weather conditions.

The migrants are holding up signs saying “Help us, we are freezing.” They bathe outdoors, pouring water from a jug.

The Danish Refugee Council and the SOS in the nearby town of Bihac have started providing health care to the migrants who have spent several nights outdoors.

Although Bosnia’s Council of Ministers has decided to relocate the migrants to the former Bira migrant reception centre in Bihac, local authorities refuse to reopen it due to opposition from the local population.

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Hundreds of migrants spent days without adequate shelter after the Lipa camp was shut down on December 23.
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 two weeks ago 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 Bira in Bihac but this failed due to resistance by local authorities and residents who started patrolling the area around the facility and said they would prevent the transfer of any migrants there.

Last 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.

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