Görkem ŞEKEROĞLU -TDO- Hundreds of migrants were stranded this weekend in a squalid, burned-out tent camp in Bosnia as heavy snow fell in the country and winter temperatures suddenly dropped.
After a fire destroyed most of the Lipa camp earlier this week, the refugees and migrants had to take shelter at the camp in northwest Bosnia where they wrapped themselves in blankets and sleeping bags to protect against biting winds.
The camp had previously been strongly criticised by international officials and aid groups as being insufficient for the needs of the migrants and refugees living in it.
Days after the fire, Bosnian authorities could not provide new accommodations for the refugees at Lipa, leaving close to 1,000 people out in the freezing cold, with no proper facilities or heat, eating only the insufficient food parcels provided by some aid groups.
The International Organization for Migration’s chief of mission in Bosnia, Peter Van Der Auweraert, tweeted “This is not how anyone should live. We need political bravery and action now.”
A joint statement on Saturday (26 December) by several aid organisations including the Danish Refugee Council, the UNHCR and the UN Migration Agency strongly advised the Bosnian authorities to search for an alternative solution urgently.
The EU has warned Bosnia that thousands of migrants will have to face a freezing winter without shelter, and it has urged the country’s politicians to take urgent action.
Plans to relocate the migrants temporarily to a closed facility in central Bihac have caused protests by local residents.