Thousands of people trapped in Bosnia and Herzegovina desperately need humanitarian assistance and some are dying while trying to find shelter, says the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Current transit centers, holding around 3,500 people, are full so thousands are sleeping rough.
Indira Kulenovic, operations manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “People are sleeping in parks, in carparks, on the footpath, and in dangerous buildings. A few weeks ago three migrants sheltering in an abandoned building burned to death when a candle they were using caused a fire. Soon after, another fell from the top floor of a building he was sheltering in. Psychological stress among migrants is high – just last week one man set himself on fire in desperation. The situation is dire,” Kulenovic said.
The Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina has six mobile teams providing people on the move with food, water, clothes, blankets, psychosocial support and first aid. The mobile teams are also distributing information on active landmine fields to warn migrants of the dangers of unexploded ordinances. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most landmine-contaminated countries in Europe.
Red Cross volunteers are working in five migrant centers across the country, preparing meals for 3,000 people a day, with food supplies provided by IOM. They are also providing clothing, bedding, tents, hygiene items and first aid.
The Secretary General of the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Rajko Lazic said that, despite the best efforts of aid agencies to provide food and shelter, living conditions for many people remain inadequate in the centres, and worse for the people outside. “Our teams are doing what they can but they are stretched to the limit and the situation has reached a critical point. This is a humanitarian crisis,” Mr Lazic said.