Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina (AP)-Thousands of migrants were trapped in a dilapidated tent camp in Bosnia on Saturday, with heavy snowfall and sudden drops in winter temperatures.
Migrants in the Lipa camp in northwestern Bosnia wrapped themselves in blankets and sleeping bags to prevent the region from bordering the European Union member Croatia.
A fire earlier this week destroyed most of the camps near the town of Bihac, and international officials and aid organizations have severely criticized the camps for not being able to accommodate refugees and migrants.
Despite the fire, the Bosnian authorities were unable to find a new home for the immigrants in Lipa. About 1
“The snow is falling, the temperature is below zero, there is no heating, there is nothing.” Peter Van Der Auweraert, head of the International Organization for Migration Mission in Bosnia, said on Twitter. “This is not the way anyone should live. We need political heroism and action now.”
Bosnia has become a bottleneck for thousands of immigrants hoping to reach Western Europe. Because other parts of the ethnically divided country refused to accept these weapons, most people were trapped in the Krajina region in northwestern Bosnia. The European Union has warned Bosnia that thousands of migrants will face a harsh winter without shelter, and urged quarreling politicians in the country to put aside their differences and take action.
On Saturday, as the police sought to maintain order, migrants crowded into the camp to receive water and food provided by the Bosnian Red Cross. Some immigrants wear masks to protect them from the coronavirus.
“We live like animals. Even animals live better than us!” said a man from Pakistan, who was only named after his name Kasim. “If they don’t help us, we will die, so please help us.”
Plans to temporarily relocate immigrants to closed facilities in central Bihac have triggered protests from residents.
If there is no solution, the migrants will lay down cardboard on the floor and set up a simple privacy barrier in the only standing tent in Lipa camp. Some people stepped their feet on small fires lit by immigrants to heat them up, while others wrapped them in blankets to keep warm. Despite the snow, many immigrants still wear sneakers.
To reach Croatia, immigrants often use illegal routes in the mountains along the border. Many people complain about the violence and repression of the Croatian police.